Tuesday, 15 May 2012

the strategy aint working

so i had another weekend that wasn't too much of a break.  it involved driving down to palmerston north, where i got to stay with the wonderful deborah & her family.  i can confirm that her daughters are indeed as clever & sweet as they appear to be from reading her blog.  it was a lovely evening & a restful night, which i was definitely in need of.

there's so much nasty stuff coming out from the government of late, it's hard to know where to start.  i wonder if their strategy was to distract us from the whole john banks saga by overwhelming us with anger and despair.  there's:
... the scrapping of post-graduate student allowances will have an impact on those studying medicine, dentistry and veterinary medicine, besides the arts and commerce students singled out by Joyce

Given the country's GP shortage, that seemed an inexplicable move. According to Green Party MP Holly Walker, the change will be sending an overall signal that only the wealthy can expect to afford to pursue any form of post- graduate studies in future

The Government has said it will be using the upcoming Budget to shift funding to favour degrees in science, technology, engineering and maths, and the Tertiary Education Commission has also called on tertiary institutions to increase the number of graduates in those fields.

Unfortunately, there is little evidence of a need for more graduates in those fields - let alone of jobs being available, once graduates have completed their studies.
The removal of the duty to conclude collective bargaining will be seen as the ‘Port of Auckland clause’ because the Government knows that the port wanted to abandon collective bargaining and instead contract out.

“And removing the 30 day protection for new workers when they start a job in a workplace with a collective agreement is heartless,” she said. “It is making vulnerable workers even more vulnerable.”

“The deductions from workers’ pay for partial strike action is another attack on the rights of workers. It is designed to force workers either into a full strike or to abandon any action. It is punitive and one-sided when the major industrial relations problems we face are extensive lockouts.”

and see also this post at the standard re work-to-rule.
  • the proposed increase in prescription charges, which are really going to hit the poor and elderly hard.  typically, they've set this up to divide one group of society against another, with the money earmarked for cancer victims. 

about the only bit of good news lately is the court case that has gone in favour of caregivers, with the court deciding that family members caring for a disabled person shouldn't be discriminated against.  of course, the ministry of health is still considering whether they will appeal this decision, and the minister of health is busy scaremongering.

it appears one of his tactics has been to claim that caregivers will give up any paid employment they currently undertake, if they get paid to be full-time carers.  that doesn't make any sense, because if those family members are in paid employment, then someone else is already being paid to look after the disabled family member.  the cost to the government won't change.

it's appalling that this group has had to fight so long and through so many stages to get this victory.  with no certainty that the fight is over.  this is one area where the last labour government failed - i can't imagine why they didn't just accept the human rights tribunal decision and budget for payouts.  compared with many other policies, it isn't a huge cost.  i heard an estimate of around $35 million.  it's something that society should be happy to pay for, supporting families who are doing a difficult job.

there's some useful background information on the whole issue here.

1 comment:

Alex said...

The problem with a government like this National one is that they stake their reputation on common sense policy, except after a while all of the sensible policies are gone, and the need to be seen 'Doing Something' starts to kick in. All of the policies you outlined are ridiculous, petty, won't save any decent money and are dog-whistles to interest groups. Here's hoping that National doesn't have any interest in actually following through on any of them.