Author: E tū

At least 61 seats in the House for transformative politics

Even before the Special Votes have been counted, there is a majority in the house for real change in New Zealand politics.

While the election result on Saturday night didn’t deliver an outright majority for a change of Government, a majority of New Zealanders voted against a status quo that has seen the rich get richer while living standards for the rest of us stagnate or decline.

There are many policies and positions that Labour, the Greens, and New Zealand First are proud to fight for. They include:

  • a significant rise in the minimum wage
  • a commitment to pay the Living Wage to workers in all core public services including those employed by contractors
  • the rejection of the National Party’s pay equity bill which would make it harder for women to take equal pay claims
  • 26 weeks paid parental leave
  • better access to education for young people and people who need to retrain in a changing world of work
  • opposition to asset sales
  • making sure that trade agreements do not restrict our sovereignty
  • stopping the exploitation of migrant workers which creates a ‘race to the bottom’ in wages and conditions as a competitive advantage for employers
  • ending the casualisation of our workforce which allows employers to exploit vulnerable workers
  • ending the discriminatory ‘starting out wage’ which allows bosses to underpay young workers even if they have the same responsibilities as others
  • revitalising our regions through proper economic development and improved infrastructure.

We now wait upon New Zealand First leader Winston Peters to decide to move the country forwards, not backwards, for working people and our communities. Mr Peters ran a clear campaign for change and we hope he will honour the voters who put their faith in him to make the right decision for New Zealand.

Government and Refining NZ to blame for “chaos” at airports

E tū Aviation says it’s appalled the Government and Refining New Zealand have no plan B for disruption to the crucial fuel line between Marsden Point and the rest of the country.

“The result has been days of disruption, with flights cancelled and the plans of thousands of travellers thrown into chaos,” says E tū Aviation spokesperson Kelvin Ellis.

Kelvin says airlines have been dealing with the situation “brilliantly” with strong support for its workforce who are bearing the brunt of abuse from a frustrated public.

“Airlines have plans for this sort of event and they’re doing well looking after their workers.”

But he says the situation has exposed the vulnerability of the country’s sole aviation fuel link.

“It’s incredible neither the Government nor Refining New Zealand have a back-up plan. This is vital infrastructure in a country which depends on tourism, and where people travel constantly.

“To have allowed a situation like this to develop is appalling. The Government can pass the buck onto Refining New Zealand, and shrug off responsibility. But the vulnerability of that line was flagged years ago. There should have been contingency plans.

“It’s just further evidence of the failure of the Government’s “hands-off” approach to key infrastructure which has allowed this situation to happen.”

Meanwhile, Kelvin is appealing for the public to be patient with airlines and their staff as they work to manage a crisis “not of their making”.

ENDS

For more information, contact:

Kelvin Ellis E tū Aviation spokesperson ph. 027 598 5735

Mood of the Smoko Room: Workers back Jacinda

In response to the Mood of the Boardroom earlier this week, E tū is proud to announce a new election tradition – Mood of the Smoko Room.

The E tū National Executive has met in Auckland this week. This is the governing body of our union, comprising democratically-elected representatives from across our eight industries.

They were asked how they feel about the election and the results were unequivocal: working people want a change of Government. 100% of these workplace representatives support a change of Government, with 0% supporting the status quo.

Jacinda Ardern topped the leadership ratings with the group, with an impressive 4.67 average rating out of 5, compared to Bill English’s 0.8 – a dramatic and devastating result for the Prime Minister who hopes to win workers’ votes by talking up his tax cut plan.

By far the most important issues for workers were jobs and wages, followed by housing and health.

E tū President and electrical technician Don Pryde says these kinds of results are to be expected as the current Government has left workers behind for so long.

“Job security is a huge issue, and out of control labour hire is undercutting existing jobs and conditions. National has no positive plans for working people to address these issues,” Don says.

Pai Hiku is a food process worker from Auckland. She reports that wages remain too low across the food industry:

“Decent wages are one of the most important issue facing workers as they cast their votes,” Pai says.

“On food sites, we are still on low wages. Our business makes a lot of profit and we want a Living Wage. If you don’t want to see us sleeping in our cars, give us what we need. That is not a lot.”

Angelique Kerr, executive assistant and E tū’s Central Region Representative, is also ready for change.

“We’ve had nine long years of going backwards,” she says.

“I was in casual work in hospo for years and insecurity is the big issue there. People are working multiple jobs, and secondary tax makes it hard to get ahead. Labour has a plan to get rid of secondary tax. I like that.”

“My dad works three jobs and that’s standard in towns where there isn’t much work.  He lives in a caravan because he can’t even afford to rent.  I worry about him and his future – eventually he is going to have to live in a real house.”

The Mood of the Smoko Room is clear. Working people say: it’s time to change the Government.

The survey:

E tū National Executive members were asked to rate the potential prime ministers out of five:

Jacinda Ardern: 4.67 /5

Bill English: 0.8 /5

The National Executive members were asked if they supported the status quo, or a change:

Supporters of the current Government: 0%
Supporters of a change: 100%

The National Executive members were asked to identify the most important issues:

Issue 1: Jobs and wages
Issue 2: Housing
Issue 3: Health

ENDS

Advanced voting has started!

This election, hundreds of polling booths across the country are open for early voting. If you are already enrolled to vote, you can simply pop along to a polling booth in your electorate and vote right now. You can even vote in an electorate outside of your electorate, you will just have to cast a Special Vote – simply an extra form to fill out.

If you are not yet enrolled to vote, you must enrol before Election Day (you cannot enrol on the day). The easiest thing to do is to head along to a polling booth and enrol and vote at the same time. You can also update your enrolment details this way. You don’t need to bring anything with you to enrol and vote – just turn up!

Click here to view an interactive map of all early voting booths.

Is everyone you know ready to vote?

Click here to download a handy poster you can put up at work (or anywhere) to let people know about enrolling and voting. You can also print out some of the details for early voting booths by visiting the NZCTU website here.

Happy voting!

Authorised by Bill Newson, 7 McGregor St, Rongotai