Archive | July, 2012

The Union Report with James Ritchie from NZDWU & Commentator Chris Trotter & other union news (31/7/12)

31 Jul

Issue 1 – How does the global free market impact on domestic labour relations in the 21st Century? Issue 2 – Does the rise of lowest cost capitalism in China pose a danger to workers rights here? and Issue 3 – Will the global recession challenge the free market Consensus and do Unions have a role in re-shaping it?


Claim that F&P union staff in Thailand are ‘treated like lepers’

Worker wants port’s apology for leaking details of wife’s death

Cecil Walker, seen on the picket during the port strike, says he feels betrayed when he goes in to work now.

Govt needs to move on pay equity after UN report

UN Committee warns NZ Government against employment law changes

Department of Labour advice shows employment law changes unfair

Income gap between the races gets wider

47 years of memories won’t save house

Anti-Welfare reform protest at National Party conference

How many of the Rich List pay a fair tax?

27 Jul

Commenting on today’s release of the annual ‘rich list’ CTU Economist Bill Rosenberg asks how many of the rich list paid a fair tax on the income from their wealth?

Bill Rosenberg said “the rich list represents about 0.01% of households who own 5-10% of all household wealth. This is roughly equivalent to what the bottom 50% of the population own. Yet the bottom 50% are more likely to be paying tax on every dollar they earn while some of our richest individuals are ducking on paying tax.”

“According to information released to us last month by IRD, 50% of the wealthiest kiwis dodge their tax responsibilities.”

“In annual samples of 184 ‘high wealth individuals’ between 2009 and 2011, IRD found that only 49.5% of them reported personal incomes of more than $70,000 (the top tax bracket). This indicates that some of our wealthiest individuals are skirting on their tax contribution.”

Bill Rosenberg said this is a worldwide issue that needs addressing, and the tax changes of 2010 which lowered income tax rates for these wealthy individuals don’t appear to have made any inroads into it. “Governments worldwide lose more than $3.1 trillion in annual revenue because of tax evasion, according to a report published in November last year by the Tax Justice Network. Just a few days ago the same organisation released further research showing that between US$21 trillion and US$32 trillion had been hidden in secret tax havens by the global super-rich.”

“If governments internationally, including NZ, could do more to track down dodged taxes we might not be facing the degree of financial austerity and government cuts that we are seeing around the world. More has to be done to make some of the richest accountable to contribute their fair share.”

“A capital gains tax, which taxes income from increasing asset values, and financial transaction taxes are two ways we could spread the tax base to catch more income from these wealthy individuals. We should also be restoring higher tax rates on higher incomes – such as a 38 percent rate on income more than about twice the average wage ($100,000) and a 45 percent rate on income more than approximately three times the average wage ($150,000). We could also stop trusts being used for tax avoidance purposes.”

“Internationally, the government should be urging other governments to clamp down on tax havens and ensuring our laws – such as our lax company laws and lack of a capital gains tax – aren’t used to avoid tax by corporations and individuals from other countries,” said Bill Rosenberg.

$15 minimum wage a good start

27 Jul

CTU supports David Clark’s members bill to raise the minimum wage to $15 an hour as a good starting place to lift low wages in New Zealand says Helen Kelly, CTU President.

Helen Kelly said “many families are struggling to keep up with the cost of living, increasing the minimum wage to $15 is a good start and would give low income earners a much needed boost.”

“For many working families wages are still too low. In real terms, wages are lower than they were in 2009. The low increases to the minimum wage that we’ve seen in recent years haven’t gone far enough to help families keep afloat.”

CTU President Helen Kelly

“Low income households got next to nothing from recent tax cuts that greatly favoured high income earners, and were hit harder than higher income people by the increase in GST by having to pay a greater proportion of their income in GST. Increasing the minimum wage to $15 an hour would help rebalance this equation and put more money in the pockets of low income families who are more likely to spend it creating much needed economic stimulus.”

“Any number of measures of living standards show that many New Zealanders experience hardship on a daily basis and are evidence of the widening gap between rich and poor. This Bill is an opportunity to make New Zealand a fairer place – a $15 minimum wage will improve the relativity of the minimum wage to the average wage and provide a more equitable distribution of income,” said Helen Kelly.


Living Wage Update July 2012

27 Jul

Living Wage Aotearoa NZ Update

July 2012

Aotearoa New Zealand has growing poverty and inequality. This means more and more New Zealanders don’t get paid enough to meet their needs and participate as active citizens in society.

Your interest in this new movement is important. Individuals and organisations around the country have told us they want to do something to reduce inequality and poverty among low waged New Zealanders. Over 65 organisations have endorsed a statement of support for the idea of a living wage. This statement says:

A living wage is the minimum income necessary to provide workers and their families with the basic necessities of life. A living wage should enable workers to live with dignity and to participate as active citizens in society. We call upon the Government, employers and society as a whole to strive for a living wage for all households as a necessary and important step in the reduction of poverty in New Zealand.



A Wellington launch

After a successful launch in Auckland, Wellington community organisations, faith groups and unions are planning a launch in the capital city. If you live in the Wellington region please come along and bring members of your organisation.

Living Wage Aotearoa NZ Wellington Launch:
12 noon- 2.00pm, August 30
Wesley Church, Taranaki St, Wellington

The Auckland network

Plans have begun in Auckland to build a network and a programme of activity to raise the profile of the living wage, win broad-based community support and identify the first steps in transforming the low pay of many Auckland workers. If you would like to be part of this process, come to an open meeting for all interested people:

Auckland planning meeting:
2.00 – 4.00pm, Monday, August 6
35 George St, Kingsland, Auckland


The Living Wage Aotearoa New Zealand website has a range of resources to support conversations you have with other members of your organisation, congregation, or constituency. This includes Frequently Asked Questions and information sheets on the Living Wage:

· Why do we need it?
· Where did it all begin?
· Why is public money a focus?
· Who benefits?
· How much is it?
· How do we work together?


Along with 65 supporting organisations which have signed the statement many people have offered help. These are some ways to support the movement:

· Attend the Wellington launch
· Participate in a planning process in Auckland (see events on the website)
· Talk to organisations about the living wage (find resources)
· Ask an organisation to endorse the statement
· Offer skills (legal, facilitating, networking, training, communications), if you have not already
· Send the campaign a donation

Living Wage News July 2012.pdf

Matt McCarten: Fine plan emerges amid aura of poised confidence

24 Jul

Green’s Russel Norman (left) and Labour’s David Shearer. Photo / Doug Sherring

By Matt McCarten,
Herald On Sunday July 22, 2012

This week the Labour Party finally got its act together and made public their long-awaited constitutional review.

We’ve had six MMP elections in this country. In every one Labour ran a first-past-the-post electorate-based campaign.

They pour their resources into incumbent MP seats at the expense of regional “get the party vote” campaigns.

Last election they had more local electorate candidate hoardings than party vote messages. Voters wouldn’t have known who the Labour Party leader was, let alone why they should flick him their party vote. No wonder the Greens got whopping party votes in strong Labour strongholds.

The spin was that Labour’s vote collapsed and went to smiley John Key. Any proper election analysis shows that isn’t true. Hundreds of thousands of Labour’s voters just stayed home. To win next time Labour doesn’t need to claw votes back off National. All they need is to get their working class base to believe it’s worth trundling down to the voting booth.

For that to happen nothing but a complete overhaul was required post-election. Despite his inexperience, David Shearer was the only choice. David Cunliffe was a better performer, but Labour had to break with the past and bring in a completely new face.

The election of Shearer signalled the party was prepared to do what was necessary. How far the review then went would be the next indication of the level of seriousness Labour was showing to right the ship.

I am amazed at the thoroughness of Labour’s review. Their working party has done a great job.

Assuming the recommendations pass at their conference, the Labour Party has the tools to become a formidable machine.

I spent 15 years as a fulltime political party boss and have, with a few others, managed more national and local campaigns – not all successfully – than I prefer to remember. What I learned is that if your opponent is vulnerable, then having enthusiastic volunteers well organised and directed wins every time.

Labour’s review got it right on what matters.

Leadership: Caucus coup speculation, which is very disabling, ends. The caucus can’t roll a leader by ambush. No challenger will ever reach the new 70 per cent threshold to roll a leader. Contenders get a shot after each election. If a leader wins government they get to rule without being undermined. If they lose they go.

Having the branches equalling the caucus by having 40 per cent of the vote gives the activists ownership. The affiliates get 20 per cent. Because every vote is preferential, no parliamentarian, union or faction boss can control the vote. Deals between factions can’t be delivered under this form of voting.

Policy: The party sets the vision and policy framework. Caucus must implement it, allowing for coalition practicalities. But meaningless remit-making is gone. A vision is set and everyone gets on with it.

Party organisation: The branch and electorate monthly meetings go quarterly. Everyone hates going to them anyway – except for losers without a life. All the action moves to newly-created regional organising hubs. Campaigns and actions are the norm. Winning party votes and Maori seats will be the focus.

Membership: Make a donation and you’re in. Groups, not just unions, can affiliate. More money, more activists.

Candidate selection: The old process was a joke. Faction bosses do deals. Talent is traded for loyalty. The huge unwieldy “moderating committee” is going. The ruling council takes over. Their new directive is: Don’t do tacky compromises, get the best candidate.

On the day this review came out I dropped into the conference of Andrew Little’s old union, the EPMU. I went to listen to the Greens’ Russel Norman and the new Labour leader.

I must have spoken to close to 30 Labour-aligned activists. They all enthusiastically supported the review’s recommendations. Their confidence must have rubbed off because both Shearer and Norman performed the best I’ve ever seen them. You could feel the chemistry and the poised confidence.

Everyone in the room felt they were in the presence of the next leaders of a new government-in-waiting.

This week’s report will give them the machine to make it happen.

By Matt McCarten Email Matt McCarten

The Union Report with Annie Newman & Laila Harre + other union news

24 Jul

Issue 1: Two huge current campaigns – asset sales and living wage depend entirely on building union/community alliances, how does the movement reach out and build these? Issue 2: Living wage movements are well-established in the UK and US. Should we be looking overseas at successful union/community campaigning models? and Issue 3: Inflation is down to 1%, but Consumer Price Index shows electricity, rentals and vegetables all costing more and hitting low wage NZers hardest. What are the solutions to NZ’s cost of living issues?


“National house price to disposable income rose from 2 in 1980 to around 3 in 2003, before doubling to around six in 2008. It is now 5.” Bernard Hickey, Herald on Sunday, 22/7/12

Of the 161 wealthiest people in NZ (with wealth over $50m), only 67 reported an incokme over $60,000 in 2008. then priority for tax avoidance at the IRD has been “tips in the hospitality industry and under the table payments to seasonal workers”.


Carers shouldn’t have to strike for $14 per hour – CTU

Productivity bonuses for workers at Ports of Auckland

Union calls for national port strategy

Gordon Campbell on KiwiRail’s outsourcing bungle with the Chinese

CTU: Low price increases welcome, but good wage increases still needed


Focus is on greedy Maori, rather than greedy, rich non-Maori

The People of New Zealand Send Their Strongest Message to Date – Aotearoa is Not For Sale J14: An Outstanding Success.

National Day of Action a success


The Roger Award For The Worst Transnational Corporation operating in New Zealand has run annually since 1997. There are no prizes for guessing whom it is named after. It is organised by CAFCA and GATT Watchdog, both Christchurch-based groups. The judges have awarded prizes for runners up, continuity and collaborators. The Award has attracted considerable interest since its inception (even from the corporate media), and has had a succession of distinguished and completely voluntary judges. The events to announce the winners have become highly memorable in their own right. Winners of previous awards and judges’ reports can be seen below.

New Nominations are open for the 2012 Award. The nomination form with details of the criteria and how to make a nomination is available in Word or PDF format. Criteria are also below. Nominations close on 31 October 2012.

The judges for 2012 are: Christina Stringer, a Senior Lecturer in International Business at the University of Auckland; John Maynard , from Wellington, President of the Postal Workers Union of Aotearoa, spokesperson for People’s Power Ohariu and founding member of the Brass Razoo Solidarity Band; Paul Maunder, cultural worker, curator of Blackball Museum of Working Class History and a founding member of Unite!; Sam Mahon, an artist, author and activist from North Canterbury; and Wayne Hope, Associate Professor, Communications Studies, Auckland University of Technology. They will be given a shortlist of finalists. The winner(s) will be announced at a Wellington event in early 2013. For more information



26 for Babies is a new coalition, set up to support Sue Moroney’s private members Bill that has been draw from the ballot which would extend Paid Parental Leave to 26 weeks over the course of three years. A coalition has been established comprising a wide range of child-focussed organisations including UNICEF, Plunket and Every Child Counts as well as community groups and unions. The 26 for Babies Coalition will be launched this Thursday 26 July at 10 am in Wellington.

The CTU has established policy on extending the current paid parental leave entitlement of 14 weeks paid leave.

If your union hasn’t joined the Coalition, (a good number already have) we would like to request that you formally join and notify Rebecca Matthews (rebecca.matthews) who is co-ordinating the campaign so all the organisations including unions can be listed in the media advisory and on the new web site:

There is a strong support for this Bill and with voting support from Labour, Greens, Maori Party, United Future, and Mana this Bill would have the required number of votes to pass it if National are stopped from using a financial veto to prevent the passage of the Bill.

Any further queries please contact the CTU contacts in this Coalition: Georgie McLeod or Eileen Brown, or Rebecca Matthews, 26 for Babies Coalition Coordinator.

The Union Report – Private Prison Special / Union news / asset sales protests

17 Jul

The Union Report Private Prison Special with Beven Hanlon from CANZ and Labour Party corrections spokesperson Charles Chauvel. Issue 1: Should Serco’s recent performance failure demand a rethink of private prisons? Issue 2: Can corrections be debated without it becoming a political football? and Issue 3: what are the costs of under funding public corrections?

Coming up… we have one space free at the moment on the 13th August, two spaces on the 20th and one space open on the 27th. Please contact me if you are interested in those dates. 23rd July (filmed on the 19th) – Annie Newman from the SFWU & Laila Harre; 30th July (filmed on the 26th) – James Ritchie from NZDWU & Chris Trotter; 6th August – Lynley Hunter from the PPTA and Alistair Shaw from NZUSA; 13th August – Wayne Butson from RMTU & ?; 20th August ? – 27th August – Helen Kelly from CTU & ?


Slave wages cause rest home workers to strike

Bosses’ pay rises cause problems

Government causing more job losses than they create

RMTU: Port job losses consequence of lack of national strategy

Not just miners finding better pay in Australia

Gordon Campbell on the job losses at KiwiRail

Dozens of jobs could go at Port of Timaru

Container work lost, jobs threatened at Timaru’s port


Stop the Theft protesters vow to fight on

Asset sales threat stirs first-time protester

Thousands attend nationwide asset sale protests

King Kapisi among asset sale protesters Video

Asset sales protests: wet but energetic

Protests planned – intervirew with Miriam Pierare

Tauranga SAVE OUR ASSETS protest


Key is ‘trying to bash Maoris’ – Paul—Paul/tabid/1607/articleID/261131/Default.aspx#ixzz20fIhTnDv

Aotearoa Is Not For Sale march in Auckland

Tapu Misa: Water claim really about Maori’s role as caretakers

Commentator Willie Jackson says New Zealanders need to calm down over the water issue

New Plymouth marches against asset sales

PM warned to leave water rights issues to the lawyers

CHRISTCHURCH: Footage of the asset sales protest on Saturday – it was huge!

Aotearoa Is Not For Sale Protest March Auckland (14-7-12) (Rainbow Project Media)

Who owns NZ’s water Maori perspective

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