Soper grabs Joyce by the short and curlies and tugs really hard

Barry Soper, who is having somewhat of a rejuvenation with the return of Helen Clark to our shores, has a ripper today and catches out Steve Joyce on his bullshit.

Surely it must have had something to do with it being on the eve of April Fools Day because the Minister of Catastrophes Steven Joyce was certainly taking us for one.

This multi-millionaire former employer should know better but then he is the National Party’s brains trust when it comes to the strategy used in winning elections. On that front he hasn’t done too badly but when you are in your third term, trying to win a fourth, there is surely a statute of limitations when it comes to blaming the other lot for botch ups when they were in Government.

Joyce is pointing the finger at Labour for enacting the Holidays Act way back in 2003, blaming it for short changing thousands of public servants over the years because of the complexity of the Act.

By the time you get past eight years in government it is really, really difficult to blame the previous government, though Helen Clark – Soper’s hero, did it right up until her dying days as leader.

The cops have already coughed up thirty million bucks because their pay packets haven’t been as fat as they should have been. So far they’ve uncovered around 24 thousand bureaucrats who are owed money and there are expected to be more.

So is Labour to blame? Is the man who’s been a Cabinet Minister for his entire political career, by-passing his back bench apprenticeship, justified in laying the blame at Labour’s door?

The answer is no. The Act was revisited by National in 2010 but the so called complexity wasn’t clarified which beggars the question: Why?

Well the Minister’s explanation is about as deep as a puddle, and a particularly shallow one at that.

It’s a carpark puddle Barry, a carpark puddle if you are going to use my turn of phrase.

Joyce says as soon as people say the Holidays Act should be changed, “union representatives and a number of others say don’t change it because we can’t change anybody’s entitlements at all.”

Yeah well, accept that and you’ll accept that unions don’t want their members to get their just pay desserts, and of course National’s the last party to want to get on the wrong side of the cloth caps.

The rules under the act seem pretty straight forward. Holiday pay’s either calculated on the weekly pay at the time you’re about to take your break or on the average pay you’ve received over previous year. The bosses have to pay whatever gives the worker the most money.

Trouble is some payroll computers calculate holiday pay on what’s in the letter of the worker’s contract, rather than what they’ve actually been earning.

But before you make an April fool of yourself and rush off to your paymaster demanding squillions, the biggest single payout yet is under two grand, just enough for a modest holiday.

While there is some justification in hitting Joyce for stupid comments, you could equally ask where have the unions been on this issue since 2003? Completely silent is where, as they opposed every other government initiative including the TPPA, Charter Schools and changes to Easter holidays. Looks like they are just as culpable on behalf of their members; you know, the people who pay their fees so the union can guard their hard-won rights.


– NZ Herald


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  • RD

    I raised this issue with my previous employer after 4 years, and was owed $3.5k in back pay, which they agreed to pay me on condition I not tell my colleagues who were owed similar amounts. There were also numerous ex-staff, one of whom had resigned due to ill health after 10 years service, who were owed significantly more.

  • Ruahine

    It does beg the question about silence from the Unions. Perhaps the Union bosses are not very good at Arithmetic or perhaps they are not doing a good job on behalf of their members, or perhaps the people being underpaid are not Union members anyway so they just do not care.

    • biscuit barrel

      I thought most employees arent union employees anymore. I cant think of any of mine that were?
      The responsibility is on the employer to get it right, after all its in the legislation. I know hell would play if I sent out an invoice that was wrong.

  • symgardiner

    The Holidays Act has been a problem child since 2003. Everyone involved in payroll has known about the ambiguous issues involved in calculating people’s pay rates for entitlements like holiday pay, sick leave, bereavement leave, etc. The legislation need to be updated.

  • Jimmie

    There must be some dodgy Payroll software out there.

    From memory between 2009-20014 we used Ace payroll and I am pretty sure when I was calculating paying out for A/L and the like the software showed me both amounts as mentioned above, told me that by law I had to pay the greater, and made it very clear to choose the higher amount.

    (I don’t work for Ace Payroll) If they can get it right, and i believe they are a Payroll provider more aimed at small/medium sized businesses then surely the bigger companies can get it right too.

    I suspect it has more to do with employment contracts being negotiated without referencing to the Holidays Act resulting in a conflict between contract clauses and legal obligations.

  • Second time around

    There was plenty of time before 2009 for the Labour inspectorate to check that the correct amounts were paid. It seems disingenuous of David Clark to think that the situation was perfectly satisfactory when Helen Clark was in power, but has suddenly become a crisis under Joyce’s watch.

  • pisces8284 .

    Can someone enlighten me to why Steven Joyce is not the flavour of the month (year) here? I’m not sure what he has done to be so disliked

    • Wolfman Jack

      It may be because he was fastracked into senior cabinet (top team),showed some early promise,but over a reasonably long period he has bungled, blamed, mocked others, demonstrated publicy his growing incompetence by losing that by-election to Winston Peters and my fingers are tiring but there is more such as being out of touch

  • Ross15

    Soper is just being Soper here. Yes Joyce might have been a bit stupid “blaming” it on Labour although I think all he was pointing out was the original legislation was put into law by Labour in 2003.
    I think the fact that the issue has taken this long to really get looked at is a blight on both Governments , the HR / staff payment industry , the Unions and a heap of bureaucrats and you probably chuck in a heap of lawyers. It is just a mess.