Today is an important day for wage and salary earners in New Zealand as they come out in rallies across the country protesting against the government’s determination to drive through unnecessary and unfair changes to industrial and holiday laws.
Update : By lunchtime today, 15,000 workers had attended rallies across NZ in the biggest protests against a government’s attacks on workers rights in more than a decade. Thousands more are expected to come out during the afternoon.
But while we’re waiting for reports on their action, here’s an ironical story (or some might use the word we are not allowed to use in parliament, the “h” word) about government members on the Select Committee in charge of the bills that workers are protesting about today.
Yesterday, National MP Tau Henare was publicly refusing to apologise for calling a teenage select committee submitter “a liar”, after he attacked James Sleep, 18, in his submission to the Transport & Industrial Relations Select Committee on the 90 day no rights bill.
James didn’t lie. I know, because I was there. He got one detail in his oral and written submissions a little bit mixed up. All Tau had to do was clarify, but instead, he called James a liar, and a bullshitter. And he’s gone further in the media saying :
Why would I apologise for a little turkey who got found out lying? He was reading out a submission and I was following it and in two parts … it was a completely different story.
He’ll get over it and if he doesn’t, well, then, too bad … He’ll learn from his experience.”
But then there is the NDU member, who had her first ever written submission to the committee sent back to her because, according to the Government members on the Select Committee, she made an “offensive comment”, which was :
Can we put John Key on a 90 day trial and sack him after the 89th day?
What? It sounds like an absolutely fair point to me – whereas Tau Henare has used his power as a government member of a Select Committee to harass a young person who had the gumption to show up and make a submission.
It’ s probably lucky the NDU member ddidn’t have to front the committee, because goodness only knows what would have happened to her.