Thursday, January 9, 2014

So who is the fire-at-will party leader?

The NZ Taxpayer's Union has unearthed some "interesting" employment practices in the corridors of power; check this out, via Voxy:

The Taxpayers’ Union has released figures showing that MPs are chewing through more than $65,000 per month on payouts to avoid messy employment grievances.
"While every other New Zealander must follow the letter of employment law, MPs are often ignoring it and having the poor taxpayer fund the resulting payouts," says Jordan Williams, Executive Director of the Taxpayers’ Union.
"Many of the payouts result from MPs sacking staff on the spot. It appears that parliamentary officials offer generous settlements to avoid cases going to the Employment Relations Authority."

Parliament can be a stressful place to work involving long hours, a huge amount of pressure, and political masters/mistresses who may not always be making unemotional and rational decisions. But should a different standard apply to Parliamentary Services than for the rest or the workforce?

And it seems that one "minor party leader" has been fingered as being particularly tough to work for; read on:

The Taxpayers’ Union is aware of two examples of instant dismissal due to a minor party leader being unwilling to hear his employee’s response to minor allegations made by a colleague. The former employees were offered confidential payouts from Parliamentary Service well above what the individuals were advised they would be awarded in court.
"Parliamentary Service is effectively buying the silence of former staff, some of whom have been treated appallingly by MPs."
"Parliamentary Service contracts include an instant dismissal clause when there is an ‘irreconcilable breakdown’ of the relationship with the employee’s MP. The legality of the clause is questionable and it appears that the Parliamentary Service offers these generous settlements to avoid them being challenged."
The six months of severance pay figures total $395,941 and show the average payout is approximately $20,000.

Let's say for argument's sake that minor parties start from the Green Party downwards. That means that there are eight potential suspects here; Russel Norman, Metiria Turei, Winston Peters, Tariana Turia, Te Ururoa Flavell, John Banks, Peter Dunne and Hone Harawira. All of the above are now under suspicion as being the "minor party leader" who fires staff on the spot and at will, without following any due process.

Those "minor party leaders" who don't fire staff at will can rightly feel a bit miffed at fingers being pointed at them unfairly. So we call on the "minor party leader" referred to to front up (and we believe that we know who it is) so that the other leaders can be cleared of suspicion. That would certainly be the right thing to do, but we won't hold our breath.



bsprout said...

While firing at will is appalling, implying all are guilty until the actual person owns up is equally dodgy.

I also tire of the Green Party being called a minor party. Before Labour's leadership change our membership numbers were fairly close and we even reached 17% in the polls, 3% less than the vote National got in 2002. We have averaged around 12% in polls since 2011 and have 14 MPs and have often been described as the real opposition by the media.

The next largest party beneath us is New Zealand First which has half the number of MPs and barely makes the 5% threshold in polls. No smaller party currently has enough to register more than 5% and most will collapse if their leaders step down.

In New Zealand terms we must be the equivalent of the Lib Dems in Britain and I can't imagine they would be called a minor party. I realize it is a strategic call on your part to call the Greens minor but we have held the 3rd largest position for some time now and no other party is close to challenging that.

I also note that National Ministers mention the Greens more often in speeches and responses to questions than Labour, they wouldn't bother if we had no influence or were a 'minor' party.

Keeping Stock said...

If it's any consolation bsprout, I even considered classifying Labour as a "minor party"!

But I agree; it's unfair that all minor party leaders a effectively guilty 'til proven innocent. The party leader involved could end the speculation by confirming their involvement.

Carlos said...

bsprout compares the Greens' best ever result with National's worst as justification for being labelled a major Party?
Wasn't National headed for oblivion with that result?
The difference between the two results was a paltry 15%.
Is that a minor difference, or not?