Joe Hendren

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Sunday, October 29, 2006

Blog outage last week

Apologies to those who attempted to access this blog last week. I gasped a little when I typed in the address of my own blog and found a a blank html page. Where has my blog gone! Sing a long with the tune here :)

Where oh where has my blog gone
Oh where oh where can I I.P.
With its random topics and its rants so long
Oh where, oh where I can I I.P.


Much relieved to find all posts still there when I logged in!

Blogger was having all sorts of problems last week - I expected my blog to reappear once the blogger people had debugged the system, but it was still having problems after they announced things should be fixed. I sent them a message, and my blog was soon up and running again.

Thanks for the blogger people for helping out, if indeed they did :)

PS: It appears blogger still may be having a few issues - it almost ate this post the moment I tried to publish it. Hope all the blogger bogies clear up soon.

Friday, October 27, 2006


Tuesday, October 24, 2006

Raising the drinking age will only raise the hyprocrisy

So the media told us on Friday about a parliamentary select committee who had given the go ahead for a bill to raise the drinking age back to 20. Yet if you look at the membership of the Law and Order Select Committee, and the way these MPs voted on the first reading of the Sale of Liquor (Youth Alcohol Harm Reduction) Amendment Bill, this is not really news at all.

Martin Gallagher (Chair)
Sponsor of the bill (now that Matt Robson is no longer in Parliament)
Voted Yes on first reading.

Luamanuvao Winne Laban
Yes on first reading

Ron Mark -
Yes on first reading. Voted against lowering the age in 1999

Jill Petis
Yes on first reading. Voted against lowering the age in 1999

Simon Power
Voted Yes on first reading.

Chester Burrows
Not in parliament when Bill was first read but his other views indicate he is an arch conservative.

Kate Wilkinson
Not in parliament when Bill was first read but is likely to be a conservative on this issue

So the bill was heard by a group of MP likely to have made up their minds before the committee sat down for its first meeting. One wonders if the select committee's consideration of the bill may have been more valuable if its membership had included at least one declared opponent of the bill. Perhaps I am being too generous when I say that.

So its not really "news" the law and order committee recommends that the Sale of Liquor (Youth Alcohol Harm Reduction) Amendment Bill pass with the amendments shown.

I well remember 13 and 14 year olds roving around town with alcohol many years before Parliament lowered the age in 1999. Raising the drinking age back to 20 will do nothing to curb youth drinking - in fact it is likely more young people with gather on the curb because they are no longer allowed in the pub. More importantly it will do nothing to improve New Zealand's drinking culture, particularly as those over 20 will continue to set a bad example. Raising the drinking age will only raise the hyprocrisy.

The bill appeals to a certain section of the electorate who like to hear simplistic solutions to complex problems*. Certain sections of the electorate who will not be affected by this bill. John Stuart Mill warned how liberty could come under threat from the tyranny of the majority.

So no Matt Robson, it will not be "either a stupid or brave Parliament that says we are not going to do anything about this" - only MPs who have a soft spot for stupidity will vote for the bill. And your opponents are not saying we should do nothing about New Zealand's drinking culture - we just happen to think your proposed "answer" is stupid ineffective bollocks.

Good points made on this issue by DPF and NoRightTurn.

* eg. like those who want to lock people up instead of dealing with the causes of crime.

PS: I had planned to do some more posts over the weekend, but blogger was playing up :(

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Monday, October 16, 2006

Progressive Enterprises butchers wages...again

What: Picket outside Countdown HQ
Where: 29 Byron Street Sydenham
When: Today (Monday 16th of October)
Time: 4pm to 6pm

Progressive Enterprises Butchers Wages...Again!

Following a 26 day lockout by their employer, Progressive Enterprises, distribution workers supplying Countdown supermarkets finally won pay parity, and as a result the lowest paid Christchurch workers will gain a 19.7% pay increase by 2008. Supermarket workers gained increases between 4.25% and 5% in their settlement with Progressive.

Workers at the Southmore Meat Processing Plant (near Burnham) continue to battle Progressive to gain a fair pay increase.

Progressive refuse to acknowledge these workers are part of the meat industry and therefore ought to be earning wages similar to others working in the industry. Despite working in a beef boning room Progressive claim they are 'supermarket workers'. Southmore supply the local market whereas the larger and better paying meat plants supply for export - yet where do the exports go? They get packaged up for supermarkets overseas!

The National Distribution Union and the Meat Workers Union are working together on the campaign. Shelfrespect Supporters is a group of concerned community organisations, unions and individuals who supported the locked-out workers. We now want Progressive to give the meat workers a fair go.

The union is seeking a 12% pay increase, which would take workers up to $15.50 an hour. It would be the first step towards pay parity with other workers in the industry who earn an average of $20 an hour. Progressive are offering a miserly 3.5% pay increase, the same as the initial offer to the supermarket workers. The meat workers at Southmore took a week long strike in July and another short strike in September.

The 'Progressive' dispute is not over. We need to put public pressure on the company to give these workers a fair go.

Feel free to bring banners and anything with a meat industry theme (meat grinders, cow bells. etc). The more imaginative the better!

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Saturday, October 07, 2006

Achtung! Labour party members bill includes youth rates

Labour MP Darien Fenton's current private members bill aims to amend the Minimum Wage Act 1983 to "extend its provisions to apply to payments under a contract for services that are remunerated at below the minimum wage"”

It is less well known that the Minimum Wage and Remunerationion Amendment Bill also contains provision for 'youth rates'.

Section 4A(1) The Governor General may, by Order in Council, make regulations prescribing the minimum rates of remuneration payable to any person working under a contract for services
Section 4A(2) Regulations made under this section may define minimum rates remunerationion by reference to the age of the person performing the services or by piecework. (my emphasis)

One hopes this is not a sign that Labour intends to vote against the Minimum Wage (Abolition of Age Discrimination) Amendment Bill when Sue Bradford's bill comes back from select committee.

It is great to see the Ministry of Justice report on the Fenton bill inform Labour that basing the rate of remunerationion on the age of the person is not consistent with the Bill of Rights Act or the Human Rights Act. Blatant discrimination rarely is.

"According to the proposed section 4A(2), regulations made under this new regulatory power may define minimum rates of remuneration, inter alia, by reference to the age of the person performing the services. We are of the view that this provision does not authorise the Governor-General to make orders that discriminate on the ground of age in a way that is prohibited by the Bill of Rights Act or the Human Rights Act 1993."

While the inclusion of youth rates in Fenton's bill is disappointing, it does provide another lobbying opportunity on the youth rates issue, as submissions on the Minimum Wage and Remunerationion Amendment Bill (MWRA) close on Thursday (12th of October). If you know of young people who are or have been grossly underpaid for piece work (such as pamphlet deliveries) it would be worthwhile to let the select committee know about this too.

While the intent of Fenton's bill is laudable, careful work is going to be required to implement its provisions. As the so called 'binary divide' between contract of service (employment) and self employment continues to become less and less clear cut, I predict the MWRA Bill is going to be the first of many bills to deal with this issue.

Tags: Politics, New Zealand,Employment, Parliament

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