PM runs away from equal pay | The Jackal

19 Aug 2017

PM runs away from equal pay

Since their election in 2008, the National led government has dragged its feet on the issue of equal pay. Even when they looked close to making some worthwhile legislative changes, after years of legal battles, the remedy proposed is clearly far too narrow in focus to make any real difference at all.

Like so many of the National led government’s proposals it's simply window dressing to make it appear that they give a damn about the low and discriminatory wages people are expected to survive on. It's pretty obvious that National wants people's incomes to remain disproportionately allocated based on their gender, and that's why Bill English was run out of Dunedin hospital this afternoon.

Today, 1 News reported:

Protesters demanding equal pay force PM to leave Dunedin Hospital after storming building

Protesters have flooded Dunedin Hospital, forcing Prime Minister Bill English to leave the building.

Bill English was ushered out of the hospital following his announcement that $1billion will be spent on the complete rebuild of Dunedin hospital.

1 NEWS political reporter Katie Bradford tweeted: "Protesters have marched into Dunedin hospital and chased the PM & health minister out of the building".

Thankfully a lot of people realise that the Employment (Pay Equity and Equal Pay) Bill will simply not work to address pay inequality in New Zealand… and here’s why.

On Thursday, Newsroom reported:

Equal pay advocate Bartlett ‘let down’ by Govt

Just four months ago, the Government described its $2 billion deal with Kristine Bartlett and her fellow aged care workers as an historic first step towards achieving pay equity. But Bartlett now says she feels betrayed by the Government. Andre Chumko reports.

The disillusion began to set in within two days. On April 20 the Government released its draft bill, which unions and the Opposition said erected a road block to settlements similar to Bartlett's by forcing pay equity claimants to compare themselves first with colleagues in their own businesses and sectors, rather than with similarly skilled workers in other sectors. They argued the Government had ignored the good work done over two years by employers and unions in a Joint Working Group led by Dame Patsy Reddy, who is now the Governor General.

The bill's presentation to Parliament last week for its first reading confirmed for many that the promise of April 18 had been dashed.

"I listened to the first reading and I was just absolutely gobsmacked to think that they could stand up there and say what they had to say about it. They didn’t care a damn. Not one of them. They totally changed their minds and they totally reneged on what was the exciting part about this case, and just stopped it basically for everyone else," Bartlett said.

In July, Newsroom also reported:

Equal pay tsunami surges forward

Eric Crampton, chief economist at the New Zealand Institute, said the pay equity framework would likely result in hundreds of millions of dollars in extra public spending leaving the Government “stuck with a bit of a mess”.

National’s attempt to trick people into thinking they were addressing the equal pay issue has left them running for cover. This is particularly concerning for Bill English because Labour’s new leader, Jacinda Ardern, has recently announced that she won’t rest until women have equal pay.

There’s a clear choice for voters at the upcoming election between a party that pretends and one that actually cares about equal pay. If like Jacinda you also want to see an end to workplace discrimination, make the right choice on your ballot paper. It’s time to change the government.