The leftward and other blatherings of Span (now with Snaps!)

Thursday, July 20, 2006

Clearing the Field

It seems to me that Labour could be quite advantaged by a full commission of inquiry into Taito Phillip Field.

During the interminable length of the inquiry it would suck up the attention and work of National, on an issue that I don't think the public really care about all that much anymore.

If Helen Clark could get Field to agree to stand down at the next election then they could announce his retirement before the inquiry reported back and then the Labour leader wins three ways; she gets rid of a conservative caucus member, practices some much needed renewal, and distances her Government from any dirty dealings. Sorted.

Field himself should be welcoming the inquiry too - failing a coup within Labour that radically shifts the caucus' balance of power he's never getting back into Cabinet, so he might as well try his best to clear his name. After all he's going to need a career after politics and his reputation will be important. Of course if he has got something to hide then going for an inquiry would not be the thing to do. Right now he looks like he has so much to cover up that it would take all the tilers in Thailand a hundred years to cover that stain on the floor.

One thing that does strike me as quite hypocritical though is National's calls of slave labour when that party only seems to care about the rights of workers when they are working for Labour (ex) ministers. To on the one hand be crying foul on behalf of a few, whilst trying to take away the rights of the many, well that's just typical National really.


Hugh Hakawa said...

Would you say it's correct to conclude from your post that you believe it's more important for Labour to maintain power than to ensure there is no corruption in parliament?

span said...

No not at all, I'm just giving my view on how doing the right thing could also advantage Labour. I think they are being short-sighted in trying to just sweep the issue under the carpet.

I can see why you might have formed your impression though! :-)

Gerrit said...

Span, your spin is an interesting angle on a sordid affair.

Use the case of a labour minister who exploits workers (below minimum wages, short term employment) and who has a lax attitude to levies ordinary employers need to pay (PAYE, ACC, GST) to highlight how the next National government will be taking away the rights of workers.

It that why the CTU is strangely silent on the subject? I would have thought that even one case of worker exploitation would have bought the full weight of rightious condemnation from that erstwhile body. Instead silence.

I find that hypocritical.

Any background information on how the CTU got the 297,000 people changing jobs figure. Are these just wage and salary earners? or include contractors, temp workers, etc.

Seems an extraordinary high number to me. Based on two million workers that would be a nationwide staff turn over of 15% every three months, or 60% per annum.

Sorry but I dont buy that one.

Gary said...

Span, I am a bit surprised that you appear so relaxed about this issue. You agree that Labour is not doing "the right thing" and suggest they do. But you appear to be only be critical from a political point of view, not a moral one.

As far as accusations of hypocracy, National believes in minimum wages, something Field does not. For National to point out that a Labour Minister is being hypocritical is exactly what they should do.

One other thing - you can be sure that Field will never welcome an inquiry into his electorate dealings!

span said...

Gerrit, on the issue of the 297,000 I think the CTU have their figures from the IRD, although I'm not positive. You might care to comment more on the actual post concerned, rather than here. I will endeavour to find out where the figure comes from.

span said...

Gary (& Gerrit), I have written more clearly my views on Field and the Ingram Inquiry here:

And Gary you might wish to note that there are National MPs, including I suspect the current leader, who do not in fact support minimum wage laws and would be quite happy to simply let The Market provide (or rather not provide as would be the more likely situation for many many workers).

I am a bit surprised and disappointed at the silence of the Greens on this issue actually - they could attack Labour over this without the taint of having a terrible industrial relations stance themselves.

span said...

Well I can see from the lack of comments on my post replying to the criticisms in this thread that actually you really just wanted to score some points.

But anyway, here is a letter from Ross Wilson, President of the CTU, which was in this morning's Herald and responds to similar critisms about the CTU's silence which were made last week by Brian Nicolle, in letters to the ed:

"Your correspondent Brian Nicolle accuses the CTU of protesting against Wayne Mapp's employment probation bil but not condeming Taito Phillip Field on the basis that he may have paid workers below the minimum wage.

"The CTU does not excuse any person paying less than the minimum wage but, unlike the Mapp bill, which would enable an employer to dismiss an employee without any right to be heard or reason given, it does not condemn people until they have been found guilty.

"The Department of Labour has powers under the ERA. If there is evidence of breach of the Minimum Wage Act, I expect it will use these."

Gerrit said...

Span, If that is the CTU response it is not worth discussing any further. Weak and meally mouthed.

I expected more. The hypocrisy stands.