Peter Dunne is grandstanding over yet another bill

Facing the likelihood of a Labour/Greens electorate deal against him in Ohariu at the next election, United Future leader Peter Dunne has taken to living dangerously.

Yesterday morning he climbed into key National allies, the Auckland Employers and Manufacturers’ Association (EMA) and Business NZ over their objections to the the Minimum Wage (Contractors Remuneration) Amendment Bill.

The purpose of this Bill is 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.

The EMA says the bill interferes with the principle of freedom to contract and would create barriers to businesses’ ability to engage contractors and add indirect compliance costs.

Dunne put out an issue of his “Dunne Speaks” yesterday morning saying: the Bill was “a relatively innocuous Labour Party Bill to give more protection to contract workers in vulnerable situations. The Bill has been making its way through Parliament over recent months, with barely a ripple, but suddenly, the employers have noticed it, and they do not like it, so like the militant unions of old they have pushed the outrage button.”

You could hardly blame the Government and others for thinking this meant Dunne opposed the Bill.

Apparently not.

Late yesterday afternoon, Dunne’s office said .he could no longer support The Minimum Wage (Contractor Remuneration) Amendment Bill “because of ongoing concerns with the Bill as drafted as well as receiving undertakings from the Minister of Workplace Relations and Safety to address those concerns.”

Dunne is sucking up to Labour and flip flopping.  He’s unreliable and a grandstanding bouffant.

His word isn’t his bond, and for that alone, he will find his future becoming turbulent.

“My decision on this Bill followed constructive discussions with both the Hon David Parker and Hon Michael Woodhouse as well as many members of the public who have contacted me about this Bill,” said Dunne.

“While the intent of this Bill, to provide protection to vulnerable contractors who fall outside the usual bound of the employee/contractor relationship, is sound, in the end I did not consider it to be the appropriate mechanism to provide the necessary protections to vulnerable contractors.”

Dunne says he sought and received an undertaking from the Michael Woodhouse as the responsible Minister to take meaningful steps in addressing the problems that contractors may be facing.

“Minister Woodhouse has confirmed to me today that he has asked the Labour Inspectorate to provide an assessment of the extent of any contractor exploitation that they have investigated or suspect is happening within the workplace,” Dunne said.

Good grief.  Dunne and Dunner are on the job.  God help us all.

That’s Dunne’s version of what happened.

POLITIK has heard an alternative version which suggests he might have been put under some pressure over how hard National might contest his seat at the next election

That, my dear readers, is what Mr Dunne had earned all by himself.  A term of total disloyalty to his coalition Government has precipitated the need for National to take the seat from him.

Dunne has singularly been responsible for more of the government’s legislative failures than anyone else.

If you love politics, and I know you do, Dunne’s seat is one of the must-watch electorates for the next general election.  This man has outstayed his usefulness and his welcome.


– Richard Harman, Politik

  • Christie

    Yes. The Bill is a joke. It plays right into the hands of the unions, and would make business almost impossible for the film industry, the construction industry and the IT industry – for those people employed on an outcomes basis, rather than being paid for hours worked. Every time a movie is made here, all the contractors would have to be enrolled as employees, with holiday pay, sick leave, Kiwisaver deductions and contributions – even if they were only employed for a day. Madness. The movies would probably end up being made elsewhere – in more ‘business friendly’ countries. It terrifies me what could happen here is there ever was Labour/Greens government. As for Peter Dunne – my theory about him has been that he believes the parties on the left will win the next election – and he wants to be part of it, so that he can continue to trough away to his heart’s content.

    • Jude

      Well Dunne and the left are delusional. Anyone but Dunne for THAT seat.National must stand a strong candidate as a signal, those National supporters must be tearing their hair out at Dunne’s posturing.

      • biscuit barrel

        You have forgotten that if national or labour win, thats just one less MP from the list, so no nett benefit.
        When national doesnt have a majority of its own Mps it relies on the ‘Prefab 4’ who can push it over the line to get a majority
        So Dunne , Seymour and the two Maori Mps had only about 2 Mps worth of party votes so the 2 extra is a bonus.
        Losing Dunne as his own party Mp would be a backward step, fighting against him and he still wins at election but he supports opposition would be a disaster.
        Simple election maths says Dunne is better as is.

        • Jude

          Dunne has been voting against the government anyway so why not stand a National candidate or an Act candidate? I can not see National voters voting for Dunne after this term so the National party have to give them someone to vote for.
          From memory , those that voted Dunne in party voted National.
          I do not see Labour gaining that seat.

  • Jman

    Dunne seems to be constantly opposing the government on everything. Am I correct in understanding that he is the reason National have been unable to put through its RMA reforms? Well that and the fiasco in Northland of course.

    I would expect most of his support comes from people who would otherwise vote National, so I hope that National puts up a strong candidate in his seat and rids us of this self-important buffoon.

    • biscuit barrel

      That would mean labour would slip through and win in a 3 way race.

      • Jman

        Maybe, maybe not. But even if that did happen the only real consequence of that is that labour get one less MP in from the list.

  • Seriously?

    “Dunne Speaks”? Lame indeed. I used to have time for him, and still think he did well on the legal high legislation. But the past few years make me think it is unfortunate he is not Dunne speaking.

    Dunne is done.

  • ex-JAFA

    Has anyone asked any contractors if they have a problem with the current law? Do they want a lot of bureaucracy added to their customers’ workload that may put them off engaging contractors at all?

    I would’ve thought that the change to provisional tax to be in line with PAYE is all a contractor would want to change about their current/recent working environment; everything else they get to negotiate directly with their customers to their mutual benefit. One of the reasons contractors are able to demand excellent rates is because they free up their customer from having to act as an employer and meet all sorts of overheads and obligations on contractors’ behalf.

    • biscuit barrel

      The problem is mostly around sham contractors in horticulture. I know of places where they were wage earners on day and were changed to contractors the next. Still doing same job at same place for the same employer.

      • Hard1

        I got paid $15 a bin picking apples, all bruised and only suitable for juice. My mate was picking 8 bins a day, very good picker, that man. With minimum wage enforcement, my mate could slow down to 3 bins a day.
        Hence Dunne is a prat.

        • biscuit barrel

          Picking apples is clearly a short term job for a contractor, as you would work on different orchards.
          The minimum wage doesnt mean you cant be paid based on quantity.

      • Larry

        So when they are only doing maintenance work or the fruit was not quite ready for picking they get paid an hourly rate and when it’s full on harvest they get paid by the bin, kilo etc. a win-win for every body.

    • MaryLou

      Yes, we have had staff actually ask us if they could become contractors instead of employees. In each case we’ve had to say no, because regardless of what both parties agree right now, if there were to be any problems down the track, we are assured a judge would still consider the, an employee. It’s a shame adults aren’t allowed to make up their own minds.