Rod Oram was on Nine to Noon this morning with a very interesting discussion of the Crafar Farms and the host of problems with the sale. Well worth a listen.
Rod Oram was on Nine to Noon this morning with a very interesting discussion of the Crafar Farms and the host of problems with the sale. Well worth a listen.
I missed this on Stuff, but heard it on RadioNZ today.
Workers who find themselves answering work emails on their smartphones after the end of their shifts in Brazil can now qualify for overtime under a new law.
The new legislation was approved by President Dilma Rousseff last month.
It says company emails to workers are equivalent to orders given directly to the employee.
Labour attorneys told the Folha de Sao Paulo newspaper the new law makes it possible for workers answering emails after hours to ask for overtime pay.
Judging by the vox pop comments of Brazilian workers on the RadioNZ piece, this isn’t necessarily a popular move. I can understand that. Turning off the emails after hours is a hard thing to do. It has become such a way of life for many working people, but even more so for those who believe their job depends on it.
This issue has started to emerge in several corners of the world. In May 2011, Chicago policeman Jeffrey Allen filed a class action suit against the city, asking for unpaid overtime compensation.
In December 2011, German carmaker Volkswagen agreed to deactivate e-mails on German staff Blackberry devices out of office hours to give them a break.
German telco Deutsche Telekom and consumer goods maker Henkel have also introduced measures to curb after-hours emails to reduce the pressure on workers to be always on call.
Remember the “work life balance” stuff we used to talk about?
Am I just old-fashioned in thinking that working lives are important, but so are our families as well?
Not sure what all the SoE Treaty Clause fuss is about.
Indemnify the companies. Essentially what the act does now. Risk unchanged and stays with the crown.
If the Maori Party settle for less they are stupid.
Better still of course, abandon the sell down.
* Shanghai Pengxin to go unconditional on Crafar Farms by week’s end
* Mitt Romney to win the Florida Primary
* 34% chance of a Eurozone departure in 2012
* NZ Official Cash Rate to remain unchanged till September 2012
* Lianne Dalziel to run for Christchurch Mayor, as Tony Marryatt looks safe as CEO
* Labour Party to win next NZ general election
* Third Auckland kerbside waste bin expected by 2014
But more importantly 80% chance Maori confidence and supply arrangement won’t last.
As we head towards Waitangi Day a core issue for the Government is about to be tested. Pitching the Sale of State Owned Energy Companies will be fraught with subtle yet powerful undertones that will test Nationals mettle and it’s real desire to forge a long lasting relationship with Maori.
The easy route would be to complete the round of consultation hui and satisfy the Governments ‘obligation’ to consult. But, I suspect iwi and Maori are well past the box-ticking mentality.
Perhaps even some concessions that would see c.9 of the SoE Act being substituted for something ‘more meaningful’ to the current political landscape, the PM may even a propose to iwi a shareholding interest in SoEs (albeit too small to be effective).
But the Real Issue confronting all New Zealanders – Maori and Paakeha alike is that we have a vested interest in these SoEs not because of some romantic view that the State knows best, but that we must take leadership and derive the benefits from more efficient and high performing companies that deliver to us as citizens. Privatisation in itself will be a shortsighted gain with very few people benefiting – the risk being greater disparity between ‘haves and have nots’.
Waitangi Day is a time to see who walks their talk, a debate on retaining a Treaty of Waitangi clause in the SoE Act must not detract from the central issue of keeping kiwi assets in kiwi hands. Now is a time to have Maori on your side!
Have been sent this link several times in the last few minutes.
Will post again on this issue as there’s quite a bit to discuss.
Has the internet decimated the entertainment industry or are we living in a new renaissance for both content creators and consumers…
Obama recently scuttled SOPA (Stop Online Piracy Act) in the US, but it’s likely another bill will emerge that gives the entertainment industry mroe control over internet distribution of material.
In NZ, the TPPA talks have highlighted increasing concern around our ability as a nation to control our own innovation and creative works and raised questions about our ability to implement our own copyright laws.
Today it appears that the traditional vested interests behind the entertainment industry have been fudging things a bit:
The Sky Is Rising!
For years now, the legacy entertainment industry has been predicting its own demise, claiming that the rise of technology, by enabling easy duplication and sharing — and thus copyright infringement — is destroying their bottom line. If left unchecked, they say, it is not only they that will suffer, but also the content creators, who will be deprived of a means to make a living. And, with artists lacking an incentive to create, no more art will be produced, starving our culture. While it seems obvious to many that this could not possibly be true, since creators and performers of artistic content existed long before the gatekeepers ever did, we’ve looked into the numbers to get an honest picture of the state of things. What we found is that not only is the sky not falling, as some would have us believe, but it appears that we’re living through an incredible period of abundance and opportunity, with more people producing more content and more money being made than ever before. As it turns out… The Sky Is Rising!
I haven’t read it fully yet, but am relieved there is some decent data emerging at last to demonstrate the clear success of new business models which provide content via the internet quickly and at a low cost.
I hope NZ won’t get left behind
Note: I wrote this on December 23 but given the Christmas holiday period was upon us I thought it was not appropriate to have it posted then. Therefore it is posted now.
Now that David Farrar is holidaying in South Africa and sending us pictures showing how big the turtles are there and how Hyenas are eating dead baby elephants. I wish to take his holiday spirit and send him this letter as my Christmas present.
His Kiwiblog is powerful and I hope this letter plays a small role in helping make his blog a bit fairer on some issues.
While on a roller-coaster over the past three weeks of being in and out of Parliament, I was told that Mr Farrar, rather indirectly, blogged on me by saying more than once that to the effect that: “It will hurt Labour. While not a huge contributor to Labour within Parliament, I understand he is a relatively large fundraiser for Labour”.
It is unfortunate that David Farrar made this sweeping comment without delving deeper into the subject.
The Chinese community, along with wider communities, is a rather large constituency. They come to MPs for help or for an answer with all sorts of different issues: immigration, corrections, law and order, resource consent, leaky building remediation work, national standards and constantly, how to grow the economy.
To be an MP serving such a large constituency with many members virtually being unable to communicate effectively (both in a linguistic and political sense) is a difficult task. Therefore the selection criteria must be harsh – if not harsher – than the process to select a ‘mainstream’ candidate. It requires skills, knowledge about both NZ and the migrant’s country of origin, and above all, integrity to provide service that reflects the quality and name of our House of Representatives.
Dr Jian Yang offered a recent example. For me, if two law degrees, one BA in linguistics and one MLitt in political communication won’t mean anything to David Farrar, then my experience as Asian Affairs Reporter for the NZ Herald followed by a stint as a successful lawyer won’t mean anything either.
Of course, my 6th book, just released, which according to critics has “influenced so many people” perhaps will not mean anything to David Farrar at all. In short, what we have achieved and what we have been doing are largely invisible to him, which perhaps encouraged him to belittle who we are and what we are.
Of course Mr Farrar would argue that he adopted a narrow definition for ‘within parliament’. But if Asian MPs across board could be assessed using each other as a bench mark it would draw a more fair and convincing conclusion.
I have no reason to believe that he has a grudge towards me. I‘m not that important, at least in his political sense. Nor do National’s ethnic MPs need his assistance given National has been riding high for the past three years.
I did organise public meetings and fundraising dinners quite successfully over the past few years, as acknowledged by David Farrar. For an opposition back-bencher I don’t have an ever-popular Prime Minister to offer smiles and photo opportunities which must have enriched National’s support as reported in the NZ Herald. This only proves the point that I am popular and have done a good job.
When the time was not with us and the trend was against us, this kind of response is regarded as a form of approval and endorsement by the constituency.
It is unfortunate that he seemed to imply that we Asian MPs are ATM machines for political parties and are token inclusions in Parliament. I hope the National Party does not have this same expectation of its Asian MPs. It is certainly not the case in Labour, where the vision of inclusive and strong communities has inspired many, including myself, to enter into politics.
New Zealand is a multi-racial country now. We need to remind ourselves of the need to make a departure from ignorance and patrionising.
Wira Gardiner has taken on a lot of difficult jobs for governments of all hues, but I think hitting the road to sell ditching the Treaty of Waitangi clause from any new legislation for assets to be sold is going to be his most difficult task.
It seems the government regard the Treaty clause as it is currently contained in the State Owned Enterprises Act that covers the companies on the block will be an impediment to sale. Pesky Treaty getting in the way of National’s plan to sell off our future! The easy response from the government of course is to just get rid of it.
This is going to cause major ructions among Maori, and rightly so. Another question for the government to answer is what will happen to the “social responsibility” clause that also governs SOEs?
an organisation that exhibits a sense of social responsibility by having regard to the interests of the community in which it operates and by endeavouring to accommodate or encourage these when able to do so
Will it survive in the new legislation for the assets that are being sold?
If it goes its clearer than ever that these sales are in fact privatisation. The rhetoric about the government keeping control of the assets is empty if the legislation that will govern them removes the protections that give all New Zealanders confidence that the assets are working in the best interests of the country. These will simply be private companies acting without reference to providing a social good for all of us.
These hui will be fascinating. Morgan Godfrey has already noted that support seems to be dwindling among iwi. I know for sure we will be putting pressure on National in Parliament and in the community to stop the sales. Interesting times indeed.
Royal Bank of Scotland was among the biggest fallers in the FTSE 100 on Monday, in part because of anxiety among investors about political interference following Stephen Hester’s decision to waive his near-£1m bonus.
The move sparked a debate about whether the government should step back and try to maintain the “arm’s length” management approach set up by Labour through UK Financial Investments (UKFI), or take full control of a bank in which the taxpayer already owns an 82% stake.
In New Zealand the Labour government handled Air NZ at arms length. Provincial route cuts, industrial disputes all resulted in political pressure which Cullen and Clark rejected. But not all finance Ministers are as strong, and Prime Ministers like Key take the line of least resistance trying to please as many people as the polls tell them to.
I’m not sure that these shares are as risk free as Key pretends. He should be able to see the biggest risk in the mirror as he shaves.
The government has been asked to explain the inconsistency between the decision in Kim Dotcom’s residency application (which was granted) and his application to buy more than five hectares of New Zealand land (which was denied). Some might say that Jonathan Coleman should have paid more attention when he was advised by Immigration NZ of their decision to waive the good character requirements for Mr Dotcom’s Investor Plus residency application. Others might say that alarm bells should have rung when Ministers Maurice Williamson and Simon Power overturned the decision by the OIO to enable Mr Dotcom to purchase properties in New Zealand because he didn’t meet the good character test.
John Key says it’s an “anomaly” and he’s looking into that. Okay.
But here we see Key telling us in this video that the first time he’d heard of Kim Dotcom (who lives in John Key’s electorate) was when the Solicitor General advised him of the pending raid the night before.
However, some of his constituents, who live on the same road as Kim Dotcom say they contacted John Key’s Huapai office several times to complain about the dangerous driving of Kim’s mates on their road and to express concerns about his residency and the OIO approval. Another neighbour of Mr Dotcom’s requested a meeting with John Key to discuss his concerns, but got absolutely nowhere. They’re a bit confused about John Key’s response. Either their concerns weren’t passed on, or they were ignored.
I know our Prime Minister’s a busy and important man, but he also has responsibilities to his constituents and they were entitled to expect his interest.
Sometimes paying attention matters, even when you are the Prime Minister.
There is an old joke about the politician who dies, and arrives in heaven to find that market forces have taken hold, and that heaven and hell are offering one day trials so that he can decide where to spend eternity. The politician takes up the offer and spends a delightful, restful day in heaven listening to harp music. He goes down to Hell and has a great time partying, eating, drinking and generally having fun. He goes back to heaven and tells St Peter his decision’s made, its Hell for him. When he gets back there he finds none of the fun, but just a brutal, cold, barren landscape. He seeks out Satan, and asks what’s happened to the Hell he saw the day before, and Satan says, ” you’re a politician you should understand, yesterday we were campaigning, today we’re in office.”
In the election campaign we have just had, the paying down of debt and the return to surplus were big issues. The “show me the money” moment was just one where John Key brandished his credentials to lead us to the promised land of surplus by 2014-15. It was a certainty, and it could happen even earlier. Yet, six weeks on, the dampners are on. Key now says its only a “reasonable probability”. Another $1 billion have been knocked off the forecast. Truth is little is different in the challenging global environment now from when the promises were made, except the PM is not campaigning any more, he is in office. Not for the first time he gave the public the message they wanted to hear about economic growth, but now its time to lower expectations.
The so-called State of the Nation speech from the PM yesterday was a dull and miserable affair. Gone is the brighter future we were all promised just a few weeks ago. What plan there is has at is centrepiece more cuts to the public service. Regardless of the wisdom of those, they will be a drop in the bucket of improving the government’s finances.
No one is underestimating the challenge in front of the government. But what’s happened to the sunny optimisim of our PM? Actually there is every reason to be optimistic about New Zealand’s future if the government is prepared to do things differently. The world has changed, will the government? There is opportunity to reset fiscal and economic policy, and make the investments that will support innovative growing companies, grow our skills base and ensure that everyone reaches their potential.
But there was none of that in the speech. Not just a lack of economic vision either. And as Pita Sharples (yes, he is a Minister in the government) points out nothing on dealing with poverty or inequality. Nothing on the issues that need to be dealt with to unlock the potential of thousands of New Zealanders.
It was a defeatist, sad and tired effort. A bit like an old joke.
Though our aim divine/
A labour of love
A haiku about Red Alert dedicated to John Hartevelt
The ODT reports today yesterday:
Dunedin-based technology company PocketSmith is one of six finalists in the BNZ Start-Up Alley competition.
The competition is to help grow New Zealand’s web and technology start-up businesses.
Pocketsmith has a competitive personal finance management tool that allows users to track their expenses.
Pocketsmith is part of the University of Otago’s Centre for Innovation Distiller community.
I first visited Pocketsmith at the Distiller about two year’s ago. They were starting to make an impact then. The Distiller is a group of people (they call themselves technopreneurs) who work on their own projects, but work co-operatively and sometimes collaborate. They share space, ideas out of their creative enviroment comes great ideas. They call it social entrepeneurship.
NBR wrote about them mid last year;
PocketSmith co-founder Jason Leong told NBR his company’s success was all down to the power of open source development, the software-as-a-service (or SaaS) model for delivering your product over the internet, and the viral power of social networking and professional community sites.
Read more about how they have become a success story here.
Good on them.
On Friday they told most media the Crafar decision wasn’t with Ministers yet but Campbell Live filmed Friday morning had a document which we were told said it was.
Can’t both be true.
If the media were misled by the OIO then either the Chief Executive or the State Services Commissioner will undoubtably be involved in the future.
And why can’t the application and recommendation be made public. It just looks like Williamson has something to hide.
If there is some massive public interest in selling to people who can add no value we need to be told what it is.
It might be as simple as the Aussie bankers who stand to make $25m from the Chinese sale putting the pressure on Key. If that is the case they should be told to piss off.
Key said he was opposed to the sale to offshore interests pre election. His Ministers can stop it dead. They have all the discretion necessary.
The time is coming where we have to stop selling any rural and to foreign interests and have a debate about whether other land is sold or not.
As Key said – we don’t want to become tenants in our own land.
It is about time we stopped pussyfooting around and advocated and implemented the destruction of any dog and breed of dog that is considered dangerous in New Zealand. No one is allowed to carry around a loaded gun and these dogs are just that. The defenseless children are the premanent victims of this outrageous situation. If you love dogs and have to own one get an intelligent but obedient retired working dog. And rid New Zealand of these dangerous weapons
$150m if you value them commercially with no added value. Landcorp.
$170m if they have the added value of including farms next door to established blocks already owned, especially if some of them are ancestral blocks. Kiwi landowners including Maori bid.
$200m + if you are trying to establish the principle that foreigners are able to buy any farms they choose to here. Pengxin bid.
I can understand why the receiver wants the highest bid.
But it is the government’s duty to ensure we don’t become tenants in our own country.
There’s been a lot of baloney in the media recently about the role (or control) of unions in Labour and a view that by supporting fairness at work means Labour must be anti-employer or anti-business. Mind you, none of this is new, but it’s reached a new peak of hysterical comment from some on the right with the PoAL dispute.
There’s no mystery about Labour’s values when it comes to working people. Our founding values are about decent Kiwi jobs, the right to a fair day‘s pay for a fair day’s work, the right to join unions and bargain collectively, the right to have a voice at work and the right to be protected from unfair or unsafe treatment at work. We believe that there must be a balance between work demands and family/community responsibilities.
This doesn’t mean business is harder to do – in fact decent wages and effective employment relations should enable New Zealand business to lift productivity, to perform well and to grow.
Labour supports decent work (which is also supported by the National government at the ILO) and fair incomes for all New Zealand working people - whether in low or middle income jobs, dependent contractors or self employed. I know that constructive workplace relationships are important and good management is crucial. I don’t believe all employers are “bad” and all employees “good”. You may be surprised how much sympathy I have with sole operators and small business who can barely make ends meet.
Some of the workers who get the rawest deal are those who are not in formal employment relationships, or in unions, such as self-employed and dependent contractors. Labour has been active in trying to make improvements for these Kiwis, but there’s nothing on the government’s agenda that makes any difference to them and a whole lot that will impact on all working Kiwis.
Consider these comments from backbench National Party MP Jami-Lee Ross :
Unions still occupy a privileged position in New Zealand’s employment law; a relic of the last Labour administration which has not seen significant overhaul for some years. Few non-government organisations can boast clauses in legislation specifically designed for their benefit. Despite only 18 percent of the nation’s workforce being unionised, trade unions can look to whole sections of the Employment Relations Act written exclusively to aid union survival through legislative advantage.
My question to Jami-Lee is whether the Minister of Labour, Kate Wilkinson, who likes to present her government’s approach to employment relations as “pragmatic” and “what works” agrees with Jami-Lee’s views. I want to know if she thinks unions are “privileged” and “relics”. If she does, she better tell Kiwi workers soon, and fess up to the ILO at her annual sojourn in Geneva this year that she doesn’t believe that unions are social partners anymore, leaving only employers and government – and that our government is opposed to international labour conventions and human rights conventions. That will be interesting.
National’s manifesto already boasts “reforms”, such as :
1. Minimum wage : consultation on the annual review has been completed and we can expect an announcement in February. $15 an hour? Don’t think so.
2. The government’s plan for a “starting out” rate for 16 and 17 year old workers and also for 18 and 19 year olds who have been on a benefit may be one of the early pieces of legislation in front of parliament.
3. National’s policy commitments to weaken collective bargaining – no requirement to conclude, no requirement for workers to be on the terms and conditions of a collective agreement for 30 days where one exists, and the effective abolishing of multi employer agreements, along with allowing pay reductions for “partial” strikes – such as go-slows, work to rule etc and a review of constructive dismissal.
Then there’s all of the rest :
Bills carried forward from the last parliament : Meals and rest breaks legislation (Kate Wilkinson said this was urgent a couple of years ago, but it’s been bumped) and Tau Henare’s Secret Ballot for Strikes members’ bill, which is neither needed nor wanted. The hardy annual of Easter Sunday Shop Trading will also be up again, via a National members’ bill.
The inquiry into the treatment of workers in Foreign Crewed Vessels in NZ waters and the Pike River Mine Commission of Inquiry will report back this year - both shameful NZ scandals that arose because of deregulation and declining standards for workers.
The ACC portfolio and the “opening up to competition” will be a big issue; Labour MP Andrew Little will take that on for Labour.
And I’m becoming more suspicious about another agenda – not spelled out in the National Party’s manifesto. The recent productivity commission report, for example, made some recommendations that, if taken up by this government, would have a huge impact on New Zealand working people.
Bottom line : none of this will help the wages of Kiwi workers catch up with Australia. None of it will stop the weekly exodus across the ditch.
I’m sorry, but unless we see some something other than the old hoary chestnuts of cutting workers’ rights and pay from National soon, you should get ready to say goodbye to more of your whanau.
This morning, this is what David Farrar blogged on the US SOPA Bill which was blocked by Obama:
My views are simple. No Government should censor the Internet.
Earlier this morning he was on Radio NZ commenting (in his role as right wing commentator) on the NZ on Air fiasco saying it is:
”perfectly reasonable for programmes that NZ on Air fund to have small scheduling restrictions during politically sensitive periods.
So it’s ok to censor the broadcaster and use the government agency that funds it to restrict New Zealander’s access to well produced evidence-based documentaries that raise legitimate concerns about important issues facing the nation during an election campaign.
But we mustn’t censor the internet. According to Farrar.
Inconsistent. I don’t agree with the scheduling of many programmes on television. I certainly don’t think that politicians should be interferring in, when and if material can be shown on television during an election campaign. If the issue was lack of balance, then there are places to complain. The BSA and the Electoral Commission. That’s what should have happened.
NZ on Air should never have got involved in the issue. That they did, appears to be because of inappropriate politically motivated pressure.
Suggestions that publicly funded programmes should not be aired during an election campaign reveal serious cracks in our democratic process and must be resisted.
There’s been some chatter around about Labour’s position on the Ports of Auckland dispute.
At our core Labour believes that all Kiwis deserve decent jobs with fair pay, that they should have certainty around their work hours and conditions and their families need to know that they will come home safe and sound at the end of the day.
And while I’m at it, Labour will strongly oppose any suggestion that the Ports of Auckland be privatised. It is a public asset belonging to the people of Auckland, and needs to be kept for the benefit of future generations.
Sure, employers can seek reasonable efficiencies, effective labour utilisation and a fair return on investment. The Ports are an important part of our transport infrastructure and they need to be operating as productively and efficiently as possible.
But good faith bargaining and working together to find common ground is the way to achieve this, not wholesale redundancies and contracting out.
Labour is concerned about the increasing casualisation of the workforce in New Zealand. What this does is create uncertainty and stress for workers and their families – and, as we have seen, can cost lives.
Surely, we’ve learned something from the Pike River Mine tragedy about the folly of recruiting inexperienced workers and contractors into highly dangerous jobs and cutting corners on health and safety?
I’m worried that the pursuit of greater returns at the Ports of Auckland through contracting out will mean we could all be learning another tough lesson in a couple of years.
Stevedoring is difficult and sometimes dangerous work, and that should be recognised.
Three deaths at the Ports of Tauranga in the last 15 months should make us all question the safety of contracted out stevedoring firms who compete with each other for business.
No worker has died at the Ports of Auckland for 18 years.
Contracting out and competitive tendering is often used as a means to lower labour costs, through cuts to wages, reduced staff numbers, casualising work hours and cutting “red tape” such as health and safety.
Deregulation, short cuts and disregard for safety has already taken a terrible toll in some of our workplaces.
Let’s learn the lessons.