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Government to introduce legislation to enable workers to force employers to engage in collective bargaining; Unions over the moon; Businesses worried about compulsory participation

Government to introduce legislation to enable workers to force employers to engage in collective bargaining; Unions over the moon; Businesses worried about compulsory participation

The Government has agreed to introduce legislation that could force employers to engage in collective bargaining. 

The legislation will set out a process for workers and employers to negotiate Fair Pay Agreements (FPA), including minimum standards everyone in the sector has to comply with.

The Government has also agreed to help cover the costs of negotiations for up to four FPAs a year.  

The Council for Trade Unions (CTU) is over the moon, saying the introduction of FPAs signals the biggest change to workplace laws in several decades.

BusinessNZ is outraged, arguing the proposal is “against international law, which says collective agreements should always be negotiated voluntarily”.

The Government recognises there will likely be employers and employees bound by the terms of an agreement negotiated by unions or employer organisations they aren't affiliated with.

But it considers applying FPAs to all employees and employers within a particular occupation or industry “necessary” to achieving minimum standards.

Workplace Relations and Safety Minister Michael Wood said FPAs will “improve wages and conditions for employees, encourage businesses to invest in training, as well as level the playing field so that good employers don’t get undercut and disadvantaged”.

The Government will now draft legislation, which will be introduced later this year, and is expected to pass in 2022.

DETAILS

  • What will be covered by FPAs?

All FPAs must include certain topics like base wage rates, ordinary hours, overtime and penalty rates. Some other topics must be discussed but don’t have to be agreed, like redundancy, leave, and health and safety. Other employment terms can be included if the bargaining sides agree.

Contractors aren't currently included, but the Government plans to bring them under the regime. 

  • How is the process started?

Unions initiate the FPA process. They need the support of either 10% or 1000 workers in the industry.

Alternatively, they could start the process if the Employment Relations Authority decides they meet a “public interest test”.

Employers must engage in the process via their chosen representatives.

A FPA can allow for exemptions for businesses in “significant financial hardship”.

  • What support will the Govt provide?

The Government will give each bargaining side $50,000. Additional funds will also be available for unions or industry groups with low memberships. 

The Government will make this funding available for four FPAs a year. If more pop up, the Employment Relations Authority will decide who gets the funding.

The CTU and BusinessNZ will also each be given $250,000 a year for three years to support their coordination roles in the FPA system.

  • What needs to be happen for an agreement to be reached?

A majority in favour of the proposal on both sides of the bargaining table is needed for the FPA to be ratified. 

Employers have one vote per employee in coverage, with slightly higher vote weighting for employers with fewer than 20 employees in coverage.

If a first ratification vote fails, parties go back to bargaining.

If a second vote fails, the FPA goes to the Employment Relations Authority for determination

Once finalised, the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment will make secondary legislation to bring the FPA into force.

REACTION

  • Public Service Association

"All too often, employers compete for contracts by holding down pay and undermining conditions in an endless race to the bottom...

"Fair Pay Agreements do not replace existing employment agreements. Instead, they can be the bedrock from which workers negotiate terms and conditions that go beyond those in particular workplaces...

"The PSA argues FPA should be viewed as an extension of previous achievements like 2017’s Care and Support Pay Equity Settlement.

"Unions and provider companies are now in broad agreement on the need for a fairly paid and well-trained home support workforce with secure, guaranteed hours."

  • Employers and Manufacturers Association

"The EMA has no anecdotal evidence from its 7400 member businesses that employers are cutting down their costs to get contracts by paying people less, except where Government procurement has forced this outcome in areas like the provision of bus services.

"Our concern is that FPAs will result in higher wages, and the solution for businesses will be to cut down their workforce, or in the case of already struggling manufacturers and SMEs, they may have to shut up shop.

"Those at greatest risk will be the unskilled, unemployed and inexperienced - particularly our young people, because typically they are the cohorts that are impacted the most by margin pressure or downturns, as evidenced during the last 12 months."

  • BusinessNZ

"BusinessNZ had engaged with the Government and unions in good faith in dialogue about the Fair Pay Agreements plan, but the problems raised by BusinessNZ had not been addressed, and business could not support the plan to implement them...

"[T]he plan to implement them should be terminated."

  • CTU

"In the past year we have all clearly seen the essential work that people working in our supermarkets, our cleaners, and security guards do. But they continue to be paid the minimum wage or close to it. Wages have been driven down simply to improve profit margins...

"People working as contractors do need to be covered by Fair Pay Agreements and it’s important that the Minister has said they will be ‘as soon as possible’. We see this as essential given the figures released this week showing a significant increase in the numbers of people working as contractors."

  • Canterbury Employers' Chamber of Commerce

"Employee expectations have changed dramatically from when financial remuneration was the only benefit. While small businesses may not be able to compete with big business wages, they can compete in providing an attractive employment package through the ability to engage in meaningful work, flexible work environments and so on...

"With the introduction of FPAs, there could be a wage-price spiral, which we have seen in the past, when compulsory collective bargaining led to wage inflation and higher prices, and FPA settlements impacted other sectors, causing wage relativity pressures and increased prices. There is also the possibility of FPA claims spreading rapidly once enabling legislation is passed.

"Standardising conditions across industries and occupations, makes them less flexible, less resilient and ultimately less productive - which is not what our economy needs and especially not now given many businesses are facing the challenges of a Covid-19 environment as well."

  • National Party

National raised the same issues as the business groups above, and added:

“My concerns are echoed by the Treasury in their statement: “the [Regulatory Impact Statement] acknowledges there is minimal empirical evidence for the problem or policy response.

“Labour’s so-called Fair Pay Agreements may be celebrated by unions who are struggling for survival, but they will not improve things for individual workers.

“This will see 90 per cent of a workforce at the mercy of the other 10 per cent and entire industries bound by agreements whether they participate in the FPA bargaining process or not.

“This Labour Government is growing more interventionist by the day. It has not met a problem it doesn’t think can be solved through more centralisation, regulation, bureaucracy, and more power in the hands of the Government."

  • ACT

"Today’s proposal is far more radical than anything the Government has proposed before. It said it would initially be ‘one or two industries’…

“You cannot take a relic of the 1970s, dust it off, and make it stick 50 years on…

“New Zealanders have voted with their [union] membership, 70 percent to 20 percent over the past 30 years. Despite that, Michael Wood and Andrew Little won’t listen. They’re bringing back compulsory unionism whether we like it or not.

“When creating public policy, ACT always asks what is the problem we’re trying to fix? In this case there is no problem. It is a union hit on middle New Zealand who’ve said by their actions they want nothing to do with unions…

“The current law has a comprehensive range of statutory worker protections. There is a minimum wage, protection for businesses that are sold, non-discrimination laws, and dispute rules.”

For more, see this government explainer and this Cabinet paper

We welcome your comments below. If you are not already registered, please register to comment.

Remember we welcome robust, respectful and insightful debate. We don't welcome abusive or defamatory comments and will de-register those repeatedly making such comments. Our current comment policy is here.

184 Comments

Same old same old. Rewards mediocrity discourages hard work and financially incentivises union membership.

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If you’re mediocre and lazy you can always still get the sack. Drama for the sake of propaganda.

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I hope you're right. We desperately need to discourage 'hard work' in this country. It's not the post-war rebuild era for heaven's sake; about time we encourage smart work.

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Discourage hardwork? do you think real smart work is done by lazy people? being smart requires hard work (study, keeping up with the knowledge, inquisitive mind, dedication etc).

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Kiwis are lazy and so are the hundred thousand plus migrants our businesses bring in each year.

If only Kiwi employers had access to better quality of workers, they could go head-to-head on the global scale with the likes of Google and Tesla.

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Netherland, has some of the best football players in the world, but its soccer league is so weak. Even if NZ very good at producing smart workers, NZ is not a place for them to prosper and they will leave for places with the right economic dynamics. Just as Dutch players go to the Premier League or the La Liga or Bundes Liga or whatever

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If that was the case was in NZ, we'd stop training local kids in football altogether, bring foreign players and aim for a participation trophy in the lower leagues instead.
Then we'd make those foreign players practice on the streets and sell our football grounds to residential developers.

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We do it with rugby players already?

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The Dutch league is weak because most of the teams are run at a profit by selling all their very well trained youth players. New Zealand doesn't get anything out of producing good workers who go and earn and spend all their money overseas.

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Same old tired neoliberal right wing prejudice. Rewards greed and financially incentivises corruption and nepotism

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What stop the left to start their own business venture? where all workers equally (or whatever) share the fruits of the venture? Why Uber should profit from people willing to be taxis? Why all the left is not putting their resources together and develop a business product that can work for the service provider and the customer and cut the middle man (business owners)?
All they want to do is force other to behave as they wish.

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Or, it could be some redress for 40 years of neoliberal wealth stealing and creation of a huge underclass.

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Try formulating a post without using that hackneyed cliche 'neoliberal'. The central bankers who have the global economy in their iron grip aren't neoliberals, they are statists who suppress market functioning.

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You mean those awesome broken markets like our housing market? A direct result of, yes, neoliberal economic policy that has driven our country for the last 40 years.

Market economics of the neo liberal variety has failed the majority of the citizens apart from the very wealthy. The dismantling of state economics (still capitalist although you wouldn't think it judging by the hysteria on here) has been a disaster for most of us.

Markets don't work in pandemics. We have a broken housing market. Government by democracy with democratic institutions (again - still capitalist based) provide the base and workable solutions to problems of this scale.

Your comment on central bankers is equally cliched, only from the echo chamber you inhabit. I also inhabit one too, so I'm equally guilty in that.

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There is no functioning housing 'market'. You are deluding yourself. Interest rates are being suppressed: if left to market forces they would be much higher. This would mean house prices would be much lower. The state further distorts the market with deposit grants and accomodation supplements, which have only pushed up prices further. Do you think the RMA does not represent regulation? If 'neoliberalism' has stripped away all regulation then why do we have such onerous regulations? We have state economics running the cutter now, and they are a disaster. Interventionist central banks have destroyed markets, they are so distorted by state stimulus they could not function without this 'life support'. There is no genuine price discovery. It is not market economics failing, it is the system that they replaced it with by stealth: total control by central banks.

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As opposed to our giant ponzi scheme that is locking first home buyers out completely and leaving others mired in debt while the housing stock accumulates in fewer and fewer rich hands?

We'll have to agree to disagree I think. Again on the housing market, if that was a true market previously according to economic trickle down theory someone would have stepped in and filled the gaps for the poor and those who need affordable housing. Didn't happen - giant market failure.

Out of interest - who do you believe is behind this giant takeover? And what do you believe is the end game?

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The government has been competing with FHBs in an attempt to increase their state housing stock.

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So nothing to do with the pool of low tier housing being snapped up by an ever decreasing number of landlords, so called investors and speculators. It's all the government's fault. Nothing to do with a broken non existent market that isn't providing.

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Absolutely thats a big factor but its not only low tier. Fuelled as well by the media creating FOMO.

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Huh? You keep repeating cliches and strawmen. I don’t think the poster above disagrees with you that there are a problems. There are. But the problem isn’t capitalism, it’s the lack of true capitalism.

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Really??? You mean the last 40 years of extreme right economic policies enacted in our country and other nations, otherwise known as neoliberalism, wasn't capitalism? It's an extreme form, granted. But....really??

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You want to go back to the 1970's and 'gliding on' days. Complusory unionism and state control of everything. You'd love life down on Orwells 'Animal Farm' by the sound of things. The constant desire to infuse this word 'neoliberalism' with buckets of angst and make it a term on par with Nazism....it's really pathetic from the Left .

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Germany seems to do pretty well with strong unions....

Maybe its just your bias that's stuck in the past

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No, it was cronyism.

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Btw I absolutely see capitalism as the best system we currently have, just not the appalling model we've followed in nz over the last 37 years

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Ahhh, the gallant quest for 'true capitalism' - where the market functions perfectly, everyone has a job, and private enterprise has negated the need for the state at all. It's fantasy of course - the closest society to true capitalism I have seen is 'Mad Max'

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Where is the capitalism in Mad Max? Look at Mad Max II - a group of people living in a collective are being menaced by an armed group headed up by a supreme dictator. No capitalism to be seen. Only collectivism on one side and on the other the lack of individual freedom and overt violence you see in a totalitarian system.
We want a balance between freedom and government, but we don't want the state usurping market functioning, as it is causing a disaster at the moment. The more the central banks assert control, the worse the situation gets.

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On Planet Earth all markets are social constructs. I do not know what planet you are talking about.

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There are many countries that could be considered to be neo liberal, just as we are. If neo liberalism caused housing crises, it would be happening in all of them. It's not. You are saying 1+1=5 and expecting people to believe you with weak arguments.

The housing crisis in this country is caused by a raft of issues around the industry, barely any of them have to do with neo liberalism and most of the issues can be traced back 20 years or more. They mostly happened after neo liberalism began in the 80s and 90s. Most of it is caused by poor government policy in taxation, local council laws, culture, bad signalling from politicians, a central bank acting stupidly, a lazy/toothless commerce commission and various other factors. Not much of that has roots in neo liberalism.

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Does this override the governments self imposed salary cap for three years.?
Is this why the cap was introduced first.? so the governments pay packet budget was not at risk

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What.
The.
F.

What problem, exactly, does this set out to solve? This does nothing more than treat every worker like a collective vanilla drone.

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Greater coverage of the workforce. Helps support areas of the workforce that don’t already have union coverage or EBAs. Much like everyone got a weekend, 40 hours, kids stopped working. This helps support everyone instead of just some.

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Let me guess, you're a government employee?

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This would mean businesses will need to shutdown, unless the government start subsidizing/protecting them. People talking about 70s and 80s seem to forget that such conditions existed when the government had monopoly over everything and protectionism a global phenomena.

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Spiceeh has been drinking the marxist kool-aid!

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I'll look forward to the removal of WFF and accommodation supplements for those in work with all the living wage increases and union intervention lifting incomes. The end of state incentivised reproduction? Chance would be a fine thing.

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That ain't going to happen. Middle class welfare is here to stay. Once you give people the socialistic lollies you can't take them off them, and the country gets deeper and deeper in debt every day. I doubt the Left care, they would love to see the system 'smashed'.

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100%. NZ has created a class which are dependents on social welfare whilst working full time. After rampant immigration and house price growth, this is the 3rd Nz evil.

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People shouldn't be forced to fund Unions. People still work on weekends. People work more than 40 hours. Kids should have the right to work.

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Packed like lemmings into shiny metal boxes, so the song says.

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..... encourage businesses to invest in...

... invest in automation..

Shout out for labour hire pirates.

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One day the political class will be automated.

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invest in automation..

Would love to see Kiwi businesses take that gigantic leap in my lifetime!
FYI Two of NZ's major retail companies still use a DOS-based ERP installed in the 80s. Why bother upgrading when cheap IT labour from India helps you keep dinosaurs alive inside your computers.

Several big businesses still have papers flying around their offices for every process, thanks once again to low-paid workers who put up with all that.

The first step should be getting Kiwi businesses to invest in a modern mindset that belongs in the 21st century.

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Why invest in productivity when you can just import some more third worlders?

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Its coming which may help explain the higher unemployment levels in Maori Pacifica and the young.

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Double up

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I worked at Mitre 10 when over 10 years ago while studying. It always amuses me to see their terminals all still running AS/400 Telnet system to this day.

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My understanding is that Mitre 10 recently completed their new ERP selection and implementation is underway.

Businesses are finally changing post-COVID. The change will come rapidly now.

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Yes, my impression is also that there is a big IT catchup going on - there is work and employers desperate for nerds everywhere.

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I don't get that dude, these companies seem able to run database driven [SQL, PHP over a SSL] websites.. why can't they extend that to their instore-merchant-terminals?

Surely adding a few inventory databases, an updated user-interface coupled with ajax requests.. surely that would be easy enough? Better than what many have. Barcode scanners and the like must be plug-n-play?

How much are these old systems doing?

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Because some are co-operatives and half the members run different systems sometimes...

When you supply Bunnings they are a well run corporate who own all their own stores. They allow vendors to use pdt(handheld barcode scanners) systems to take orders and refill the stock as they see fit. The vendors want the store to be fully stocked so they either provide merchandisers to do this weekly or contract this out.

When you supply Mitre 10 or Placemakers you have to wait for the Marge to raise an order...if she goes on leave or gets busy they just run out of inventory for a few weeks

Next time you are in a Placemakers store have a look at the rack for screws....it might have twenty hooks across and fifteen down so over 250 sku units.....I guarantee you 20% of the hooks will be empty....

Welcome to our low productivity economy

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They really do live in a different world to us

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Yes they still stuck in the 80's when I was paid time and half on Sundays and overtime after 8 hours on any given day...crazy stuff those boomer bosses back then!

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Just a shame they don't have an 80s attitude to interest rates and debt

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A different planet. Id say to Wood, you live somewhere near Uranus I think.

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"Workplace Relations and Safety Minister Michael Wood said FPAs will “improve wages...""

A bit rich after yesterday's announcement.

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"Unions initiate the FPA process. They need the support of either 10% or 1000 workers in the industry."

Any union? I can see a lot of crop-dusting with employer-funded unions getting in first as soon as this is implemented, and then signing verrrrry long agreements with price floors to suit. Is there any rules about who you have to take to the dance?

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GV lets start a few unions..
Folk need choice of union...

I see a franchise type op covering the whole country and every identity & grievance.
Think KFC but for local unions.

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For Sale: Myself and 999 like-minded individuals, with extensive experience in whatever you need, prepared to accept any bribe or inducement you offer to set a pay rate that is advantageous for your business but completely stuffs your competitors. Special discount for industry lobby groups looking to set wage ceilings with pathetic contracts to bind an entire industry's workforce into continued servitude.

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Double-post.

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Union of Soviet New Zealand here we go.

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We're already there. The dopey middle-of-the-road Kiwi's have been bought off with the housing Ponzi and phoney Jacindamania. One day soon they will wake up in the South Pacifics version of Venezuela and wonder what the heck happened, but they only have themselves to blame. The Unions are delighted!

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Someone needs to do some reading of the history of western intervention in socialist based countries.

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Go and do some reading about socialist and communist intervention in Western countries, or any country for that matter.

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What's next? Increase benefits by 50 per week? Oh wait . . .

Watch for the UBI.

When the travel issues resolve watch the flight of the best and brightest to Australia.

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Where they will be protected by unions.

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Where they will be protected by unions.

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Because socialism hasn't worked anywhere else in the world. But it will be different here.

Sounds like a Tui billboard

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Leaving vulnerable workers to be feasted by the 'free market' has worked wonders in countries like Mexico, Singapore and USA.

Ironically, most Kiwis bicker about unions but leave NZ for countries (Australia, UK and pretty much ever EU country) that have a greater union participation rates than ours.

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You think people go to Australia because they want to join Unions? lol.
They could join them here.

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Pathetic comment. As lazy as mine is.

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No use of the word 'neoliberal'? You'll be kicking yourself!

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Careful, your bias is showing

What part of anything I've mentioned is incorrect?

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What date is the wedding though?

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1st April 2022. PUBLIC fooled again.

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.... she's given us the preannouncement only ... next , a working group will be established to form an exact date of the actual announcement leading to finalization of a wedding date ...

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'The Council for Trade Unions (CTU) is over the moon, saying the introduction of Fair Pay Agreements signals the biggest change to workplace laws in several decades.'

Plus: 10 days sick leave, another public holiday, minimum wage rise, growth of the public service.

Labour: born out of the Union movement, and the party leaders cannot get elected to the top spot without Union backing. This is the party of delivery alright: delivery for the Unions. They govern for and on behalf of the Unions.

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Are unions bad things now? I thought they got us a 5 day, 40 hour working week, allowed our children to go to school instead of work, made working conditions safer and continue working to keep those things while also supporting more improvements and workers who need support dealing with crappy employers.

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Labour delivers for Unions, but if you expect any action on those 100,000 KiwiBuild houses or those 'shovel ready' projects, or virtually anything else - mate, you're dreaming!

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Gee, it's not like unions are comprised of real living humans, or anything.

Just some soulless husk of something called a 'union' that is getting all this support thrown at it, but it never trickles down to average working joes.

/s

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here, let me rewrite / reorder your word soup for you:

Real living humans (average working joes) will be compelled to throw dues to some soulless, bully-boy husks called 'unionists'.

/no s

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Except they won't. The fair pay conditions apply to all employees in the affected industry, and people who are in a union can get paid more, up to the additional cost of their union fees. That also means that the employers are likely to be subsidising or fully paying for the union.

Nothing about this forces anyone to join a union.

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Which I guess explains the huge fall off in membership over the years. Value for money or lack thereof?

The latest attempt I encountered was a demand companies pay the fees for employees so no impediment to joining.

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Exactly. On a previous post, a couple of commenters discussed how young people would be well advised to move to Australia (better wages). Well, Australia already has a system exactly like the one we've just introduced (the Industry award system). Oz is hardly a socialist hell hole.

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5 day, 40 hour week was a great achievement.
Hey, the Sufragettes achieved great things back in the day, also the Wright brothers, Sir Ernest Rutherford, Julius Caesar etc. Maybe the descendents of these people should have their own club that runs our country through their own personal political political party?

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The militant Unionists are here thumbing up Spiceeh. Shouldn't you guys be on social media banging on about our huge national debt the way you did every single day of the John Key ('Donkey', every day) government?

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Are there still workers in New Zealand? I thought everybody just got a few rentals on interest only and sat on their fat arse while the peasants handed over their accomodation supplement?

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This seems at odds with the public sector pay freeze announced yesterday...?
Can someone smarter than me explain how these two go together? It sounds like give with one hand and take away with another.

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Unions are minions of the Labour government. They are implemented to attack and forestall the enemies of the Labour in their bud. A dog should not bite the hands of the master that feeds it. So if the labour government is the oppressor, that is all cool and dandy. The attack dog must only go after whoever the master orders.

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Other way around mate: the Labour government are minions of the Unions.
The parliamentary leader cannot get elected to the role without Union backing. The relationship is as per Sinn Fein and the IRA.

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You do realise this is the 2020s, not 1974.

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Makes me wonder if the blowback from the pay freeze was bigger than they expected, so they rushed up the announcement of this as a distraction.

But yeah, the very first question I would ask is - are the government themselves immune from fair pay agreement terms? What if a fair pay agreement requires the government to give everyone in an industry pay rises within the next 3 years?

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Other way around: the pay freeze was announced to soften us up for today's announcement. 'The Great Communicator (Manipulator)' at work again.

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Jam tomorrow then - but only after Labour is reelected.

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And then let them eat cake.

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Pay freeze + Fair pay agreement = Clown World

Don't you love farce?
My fault, I fear
I thought that you'd want what I want
Sorry, my dear!
But where are the clowns
Send in the clowns
Don't bother, they're here

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Like NZ companies needed any additional incentives to go offshore. Will be interesting to see how this would apply to Uber drivers VS traditional taxi drivers.

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They've got much the same over the ditch - apparently this proposed legislation was stylised on the AUS one;

https://calculate.fairwork.gov.au/FindYourAward

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Like NZ companies needed any additional incentives to go offshore

Labour unions represent 70% of wage earners in Denmark. Their collective bargaining coverage was 82% in 2016.
Yet in 2019, foreign-owned businesses contribute to 34% of the country's hi-tech exports.

By comparison, we've gone from average to now in the bottom-5 in union representation rates in OECD. How many companies has that prevented from going offshore again?

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Great, really great, so now we have the great pleasure of witnessing:

- un-elected representatives of the RBNZ dictating that the NZ economy must be based on the housing Ponzi rather than on hard work and the real economy
- costs being piled on businesses, especially smaller ones
- unions dictating how individuals get paid, and to hell with merit, skills, hard work

Welcome to the Soviet Socialist Nation of New Zealand. The only small consolation would be that, had the Greens been in Government, things would have gotten worse.

What incentive do people have to take risks, invest and grow the real economy, employ other people, work hard and innovate ?

PS: I am no National supporter, as they have been abysmal (to say the least) when it comes to housing policies. They appear more interested in protecting the parasitic minority of housing specuvestors rather than fighting for the development of the real economy.

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Indeed. Having grown up through the 80s and 90s in New Zealand you were raised a diet of horses*** about "getting ahead" in life through hard work, study, savings discipline, doing a good job etc.

Only to come of age into country that flogged your birthright to hoards of alien immigrants for a quick buck, where hard work is punished through taxation, the only people ahead are those who hoard and speculate on property, your savings are made worthless and the stroke of a central bankers pen, special dispensation is handed out to "oppressed groups with the right skin colour" and now a bit of compulsory unionism just to make sure nobody gets above their station by actually being skilled at something.

I always thought dystopian societies only existed in science fiction books.

Clown world.

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Comment of the century.

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I thought you had fled across the ditch Brock?

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They've got the same type of legislation over there - this NZ proposal was styled on it!

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Not yet.

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Unions are firmly of the opinion that good sober productive workers should get paid the same as bad intoxicated useless ones

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Unsubscribe the email newsletters you receive from Breitbart.
Instead perhaps spend some time going through a collective wage settlement. Most have only a few automatic pay increases for entry to early level workers. After this, step increases are only given out on individual performance appraisals. In some cases, workers also have to gain additional qualifications for getting non-automatic step increases.

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Not only have I spent over 45 years in unionised workplaces in all roles from wage paid factory worker (& union delegate) to manager & company director I ve also negotiated many workplace agreements & coached, disciplined and sacked more people than I can remember.

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Absolutely spot on.

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8 weeks holiday 4 day working weeks here we come....what could go wrong. Sigh...

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I mean, to be fair, the 4 day condensed work week has been very successful in global trials.

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4 day week very productive. Especially ina country that hoards all holidays to one part of the year.

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I'm sure they've got a few more holidays up their sleeve yet..

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Workers who refuse to join unions will become targets. The values surrounding the establishment of unions seem
innocent enough, yet people are forced to pledge to and serve union interests.

Unions are often Marxist political organizations and workers shouldn't be pressured or forced to align with such political organizations.

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Surely not workplace bullying? Unions may be hoisted by their own retard.

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Unions tend to have a Marxist spirit, so was more implying they could/will [history] lead to psychical violence.

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I joined a union (Finsec) when I was young as it was presented to me as a fait accompli when I started my first full-time job. I dropped out when I discovered I could get a much better deal bargaining for myself once I'd been promoted a couple of times.

A few years later my department was enticed back on the premise that things had changed now and "we'd be stronger as one" so we figured we'd give them a chance. My department acted as one in dropping out of the union again when we were told (by the industry union rep no less) to shut up because we were paid enough already.

I've seen them sell out long-time members for the sake of a handful of beans for newer members once the ratio tipped, rather than battling to entrench benefits that I've retained by bargaining for myself. I'm now in a far better position than anyone remaining in the union. YMMV but my experience of unions shows them to be two-faced backstabbers with delusions of power. I will do all I can to stay out of one.

ETA: On the bright side, if I'm forced to join a union I can kick back and be far less productive. Why try?

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Your experience sounds similar to some nurses I know who are very disillusioned with their union.

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Maybe we can now start to make some headway in closing the wages gap between Aussie and us, unions seem to have worked for them

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Mineral extraction is what has worked for Australia, not Unions.

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So true, is like saying Saudi Arabia has higher wages compared to Tajikestan, because they have unions or something.

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Mining has worked for Australia, Unions have seen to it that Australians get their share

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Have you heard of Gina Rinehart?

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Close the gap without productivity improvements just increases cost of goods.

Some years back and I'm not sure if its changed now, the cost of moving a container across an Australian dock was many multiples of the same in NZ thanks to Aussie Union.

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Exactly. I get the feeling a lot of folks commenting here don't realise the exploitation that goes on in predominantly unskilled sectors such as cleaning; transport; distribution; agriculture, etc.

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Or a contra view - Exploitation is when you legislate for a minimum wage that is set a rate higher than the productive value of the individual. Thus they are destined for lifetime of unemployment as they cannot even enter the race, let alone take part and gain skills.

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The 'productive value' [of an individual] is a ruse that attempts to hide the fact that most of our lower-paid/unskilled jobs are the absolutely essential ones as witnessed during COVID lockdowns; or on orchards during harvest time; etc.

Substitute "essential services value" and you'll get the idea.

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Exploitation is when an individual earns a wage far higher than their productive value e.g politicians, consultants etc

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Interestingly, politicians and consultants aren’t unionised.

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If unions are so good at ensuring better pay and conditions, why are teachers, nurses and police so poorly paid with deteriorating conditions?

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.....more reason for not to invest in business but should go for housing speculation. Easy and fast money supported by RBNZ and guranteed by government with no hassel of employees, union, compliance........

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Seems like thousands of FPAs will be getting negotiated simultaneously ad infinitum.
Naturally the Govt is going to pay businesses for all the costs of negotiations eternally??
If the trigger for an FPA is only 1 in 10 wanting more dough that is what I call a hairtrigger.

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I would like to see how a union will negotiate an FPA in the IT and software industries because I imagine unionists are still using overhead projectors and fax machines.

The world has moved on a lot since the days of unions.

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Pretty simple: they won't, because the requisite number of workers won't demand one. And, even if negotiations did start, it has to get 50% of employees in the sector to vote in favour.

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In principal a much needed move.
Ever since the 1991 ECA and individual employment agreements those in low paid positions have been been particularly vulnerable with the likes of “zero hours contracts”, 32 hour flexible contracts to avoid overtime and very low pay rates.
There are plenty of lowly paid but hard workers holding two jobs still living in relative poverty and just managing to survive.
On this site, posts are dominated by well educated, relatively well paid and comfortable solely concerned and screaming about housing affordability yet, as the posts above show, giving Jack sh*t about others than themselves.
The housing crisis is not just about affordability, it is also about supply and there are many throughout the North Island living in cramped motels - this isn’t recognised in posts on this site.
Yes, there is need to address housing affordability, but also housing supply and the abysmal work and pay conditions resulting from IA.
Time some need to show a little empathy for others rather than their self-centred interest.

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Okay so define "fair" pay.
Is it a living wage? A wage plus a raft of government benefits top ups or other welfare? This will differ for each and every individual.

So whats fair? An emotive word to suggest you're disadvantaged compared to others.

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The Left are obsessed with this idea of 'fair', which is largely illusory and widely open to interpretation as you point out. But they are idealists and not realists, dreamers not doers.

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Well, Tom
Are current house prices and affordability "fair" as you so often complain about?
Your comment clearly indicates that you are one who can not see beyond a narrow self-interest.

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Time and time again we see the result of poorly conceived policy as has happened here.

Human nature suggests the behavior you get is a result of the behavior you incentivise.

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I'd say that the situation is clearly and transparently unfair, but what are your beloved Labour government doing to fix it? They are the party of 'fairness' after all. Or is it just 'fairness' for the CTU they are interested in?
Have they built 100,000 houses they promised as per 'KiwiBuild'? What happened with that 're-set' btw?
Have they reformed the RMA after squandering one term in government already? Any progress at all? I heard some talk, but have seen no action.
Have they forged ahead with those 'shovel ready' projects so that the connnecting infrastructure is in place?
I think it's you that must have the blinkers on mate - you're enamoured with a Union agenda being rolled out while the rest of the country rots on the vine.

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Burni
Okay, so you define "fair" house prices.
So what is "fair" house prices? Just an emotive word to suggest you're disadvantaged compared to others and your aspirations.

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No more than 5 times annual earnings? The current prices are largely dictated by the interest rates. Raise interest rates back to 8% and house prices will drop significantly.

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You mean the median house should have a price no greater than 5 times the median wage? Should this be a single income family? a single parent with kids? two income family with or without kids? And what should be the quality of a median house? its size, location etc.
Usually the devil is in details I suppose.

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A fair price reflects the market. It reflects the cost of construction and materials as well as supply and demand.

Prices are where they are now because of a number of factors most of which are caused by governments. If everybody had a fair income, where supply is short those with a greater ability to pay will still generally prevail. So you ask whats a fair price for a house, I ask you where does escalation stop if you don't address the economic conditions.

1/ The RMA that Labour refused to support National in a reform causing land shortage and excessive prices.
2/ The excessive poorly directed stimulus applied by the govt and RBNZ with low interest rates and falling returns and risk elsewhere has encouraged investment here. Cullen suggests interest rates below 2% have no added attraction for business.
3/ Welfare supplements increasing the amount renters can afford to pay thus generating acceptable returns on higher costs.
4/ Extortionate development levies, inspection and permit costs and bureaucracy adds significantly to the cost of a home.
5/ Poor infrastructure investment forcing people to live where they cannot afford to.

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5 reckons, of which only numbers 3 and 5 have some basis in fact.

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Tell me how in a national agreement its "fair" that the likes of teachers nurses and police get paid the same in Eketahuna as they do in Auckland where living costs are do much higher?

Its fair therefore Auckland employees should earn considerably more.

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Well said.

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Cool story,

So you'll be supporting the end of the mass immigration and parasitic landlordism responsible for most of the ills you describe.

That would be a better solution than concern trolling other victims of the same malaise.

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Brock
Yes.
You always complain about house affordability, scream that the issue to be addressed, and couldn't give Jack Sh*t about others.
Look yourself in the mirror and ask yourself honestly; "Am I screaming for empathy regarding housing affordability but can't give empathy to others in greater need".

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If I only I was a salt of the earth slumlord providing shelter at BeLoW mArkEt ReNtS out of the goodness of my heart. Then I could virtue signal about how much I care about others and how much a couple of percent payrise would help the poors while my properties increase in valuation by multiple amounts of what they earn in a year.

Go look yourself in the mirror and practice the concern trolling more. With enough work, somebody might buy it.

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In capitalism you have to do something for someone else to earn money. There are great landlords and terrible landlords. More competition and/or less tenants will push terrible landlords out of the market..

IO Loans, RMA, Cash-Rate, etc, etc are all governmental/RBNZ issues. Start by contacting you local MP. Respecting Private-Property-Rights is key, yet even the Roman Empire had a land tax. Maybe you could attempt to sue the government if you get nowhere with your local MP, and believe "fair" translates to you being owned compensation. After that fails maybe you'll do "An Appeal to Heaven".

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The NZ property market is more akin to rentier capitalism than real capitalism.

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Try contacting your local MP. I largely agree with you, yet singling out landlords is akin to identity politics.

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Are you equating union membership with some future utopia where everyone will be paid 'fairly'?
I'll believe it when I see it.
More than likely we will see Union fat cats rorting the Union dues, as per umpteen past instances that have hit the media.
I care about others, I care about lowly paid cleaners getting ripped off by Unionists who live the high life off of dues. It's like tithing!

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Unions are Marxist and Marxist Ideology tends towards atheism, therefore leading its' believers to falsely think earthy utopias are possible.

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There were 32000 houses for sale on trademe this time last year, now it is around 22,000. That is a loss of 10,000 houses. So why are they not being listed, and will they eventually come on the market? There are also lots of vacant houses, or used for air bnb etc. Apparently there are over 100,000 of these. IMO we do already have enough houses, in NZ, they are just being maxmised / used properly. Taxing vacant houses and land would be a good start at trying to fix the housing crisis. So far the government has done very little.

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Agreed, the houses are there, but unused as its just too cheap with interest so low. There could end up being an oversupply if rates go up, and these uninhabited houses go on the market, along with recently built apartments all at once

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Mitigation of the imbalance of power between the workers and employers which has favoured the employer since the 1991 Contracts Act was introduced.

A levelling of the playing field.

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Fiddling while Rome burns?

New Zealand has an inefficient, low-value, low-skill economy, so let's give unions the chance to make it even less efficient.

New Zealand has a public service can't recruit enough frontline staff due to the low salaries and lack of funding, yet puts a pay-freeze in place. That'll help.

New Zealand has a shortage of affordable housing, but instead of building cheap housing to scale, we pump billions into the economy for mortgages and allow investors to push house prices even higher.

New Zealand has state highways and major arterial routes in desperate need of upgrades, or simply being built. So the Government decides to implement 80kph speed limits, or simply delay building the roads.

New Zealand had no money for any major projects 14 months ago, then suddenly found $100b to borrow and allow half the country to sit at home for a few months.

Now there's no money again.

This government is steering New Zealand towards a very sad come-uppance, and it's going to result in a very brutal and nasty solution from the right of New Zealand politics in order to get our house in order again.

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Also add the climate scam this govt has foisted on us to the tune of 1.4 billion per year reducing our competitive effectiveness.

The Rhodium Group, a climate research organization based in New York, reported Thursday that China’s greenhouse gas emissions now exceed the entire rest of the developed world combined.

We're on a hiding to nothing for export competitiveness given our proximity to our markets

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What climate scam? I sincerely hope you are not one of those still with their heads in the sand over what is happening to this planet and why.

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Indeed not but China refuses to address their emissions and the rest of the world thinks s tax will fix it.

We haven't fixed poverty homelessness or cancer but we gan do this with a tax.

Surprisingly methane not CO2 is mow the big evil. Better depopulate the planet.

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Except, of course, China is addressing its emissions.

But why let minor things like facts and science get in the way of bigoted reckons?

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Are they? A couple of new coal fired power stations per week? They've said they'll look by 2040.

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China's emissions are our emissions, just because we outsourced our polluting to them, does not mean we are still not ultimately responsible for them when we buy the products of them.
As to depopulation, it is only ONE of the things we need to do to sort the mess we have made.

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This is what scares me. A sharp left turn is likely to see a brutal right response. Neither is any good. But it will happen. MMP was designed to prevent these massive ideological swings but now we have a majority government, unable to execute on anything more than a press release, desperately trying to disguise its continued failure to meet its own standards.

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Announcing pay freezes, changing industrial relations laws - it’s all supposed to show a government full of action, busily delivering. Labour are great at making announcements (usually about upcoming announcements) and banking easy wins like another public holiday. Meanwhile the hard stuff, the actual building of KiwiBuild houses / light rail / ‘shovel ready’ roading projects / critical infrastructure - none of it happens.

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but a 3 year pay freeze for the governments own employees ....... do as i say not as i do -- same as insulation for private landlords -- but Kainga Ora gets extra coupler of years to comply --

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Money for Jam.

Unions and Companies may finally see eye to eye. Lets all agree to 4 reviews per year (3 of which will have no changes) and collect out $200k a year from the taxpayers.

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The government "agreed"? With who? CTU? The puppet master.

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... recall that no one in this government has ever had a job in private industry .... they're all civil serpents ... except for Arderns brief stint in a fushnchup shop ... Little Andrew does have lotsa union experience , but ... the nation is at the mercy of ideologues ...

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I think these forums are at the mercy of idealogues

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Left wing governments do left wing things. It's not that shocking.

If I had to guess I'd say this will drive another round of outsourcing. Many New Zealand businesses could move jobs to another jurisdiction and side-step this very easily.

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Many smaller NZ companies didn’t outsource much because they felt they needed to keep an eye on people. COVID forced remote technology and remote management onto business. All of a sudden, good managers learned how to use resource that wasn’t in the building. And it works. We have done 3 projects recently where we contracted resource from Belgium, Spain and the Philippines.

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Even younger people might realise that being paid half as much in a low income country is a better quality of life, might even be able to afford a house. Win-win for employer and employee.

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I like how Stuff and the Herald have completely buried this story from their front and centre. If its so good shout it from the rooftops.

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Was buried on One News as well, they really are NZ’s CNN when it comes to obvious bias.

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If you would like an illustration of how the media is in the tank for the left, see how this issue is being memory holed. Big time event for 80% workers and not even on going discussions. So kind

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Let's see. Nz Herald - mostly well on the right and a cheerleader for anything National. ZB, Magic - completely right wing. Any number of business news outlets on the right. TVNZ and TV3 - right wing.

If by left you mean actually reporting facts, then sure.

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I thought they agreed to only clobber property investors.

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... and the farmers .... and the tourism industry .... and the natural gas industry ....

Other than that , we're sweet ... all good in Aoteozealand .. .

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So much reactionary support for low, low wages in these comments.

Sad.

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The minimum was i think is 20 per hour Is that low low? Is it enough? Depends on your circumstances.

The elderly are the new poor. If they rent they're in worse shape.

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To all right wing national supporting chums on here:

why exactly do you think NZ has one of lowest median wages in OECD and so much lower than Australia?
Do you in fact know the % of wages paid in tax and tax on wealth in NZ relative to rest of OECD?
And why is that private debt in NZ is over 170% of GDP
And why is it that people on median wages cannot afford houses?

Yes: it is because wages are too low to support consumption of all lovely imports Kiwis want, in absence of sky high borrowing. And those low wages have nothing to do with pathetic level of union power or density in NZ of course.

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