Yes indeed, very inconsistent

NZ Herald Blogs Labour’s stance on Air NZ pay gap seems inconsistent

When we look at the wage gap between Australia and New Zealand, Labour explains if Australia’s wages were higher than ours when National was last in power, it’s an imbalance that must be redressed while we catch up?

But if China’s wages are lower than ours, it’s Market Forces?

What is it Miss Clark, it surely can’t be both?

Audrey Young also has a couple of examples of government expediency.

It seems the Government is happy to be the owner of Air New Zealand for some purposes but not for others .

It is happy to be the owner with “please explain” rights when it comes to calling the airline to account for carrying Aussie troops off to the Middle East for duty in Iraq.

But when it is exposed as paying less than the minimum wage for its Shanghai -based cabin crew, well that’s the market operating, says Helen Clark. It might be what Sir Roger Douglas would say were he back in the cabinet. But Labour?

It seems a long way from 1996 when ex- Labour MP, ex union official Graham Kelly made his mark for the low-paid on a related matter, well before he shuffled off to become High commissioner to Canada (a thank-you post for giving up chairmanship of the foreign affairs select committee to Peter Dunne.)

Through tactical pressure Kelly got National’s Doug Kidd in 1996 to include in a fisheries amendment bill a clause requiring crew on foreign vessels operating in New Zealand waters it was to be paid the minimum wage.

Partly it was aimed at saving jobs on New Zealand coastal routes – and partly it was to get the slave wages of people doing the same work as New Zealanders in the same stretch of water the same dosh.

So what is the difference? The China-based air crew fly to New Zealand, over New Zealand waters, doing the same work the same airline pays others to do in the same air space. It doesn’t seem right, at least not for Labour, and at the very least it does not seem consistent.


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