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Govt’s 100-day war against the poor cannot continue – FIRST Union verdict

After 100 days in power, Christopher Luxon’s Government has made workers significantly worse off and punished the poorest while kicking off a pointless and distractionary culture war on behalf of the chaotic coalition’s wealthy backers, according to FIRST Union General Secretary Dennis Maga.

“It has been a hundred steps backward for any worker in Aotearoa so far and it’s only getting worse,” said Mr Maga. “It seems like people haven’t fully grasped the extent of this Government’s intentions just yet.”

“Policies like the reintroduction of 90-day trial periods at work, the repeal of Fair Pay Agreements, the upcoming real-terms cut to the minimum wage, and the repeal of the Reserve Bank’s dual mandate beyond inflation will have increasingly disastrous economic effects over time.”

“The only real beneficiaries under this Government so far have been their ‘investors’ – the landlords and billionaires, tobacconists and payday lenders, and the American-style ‘culture warriors’ who encouraged them to fight a war on the poor in New Zealand.”

“We should all feel rightfully disgusted at the invented austerity of taking away a child’s free school lunches while incentivising their parents’ landlord to up the rent or buy another house to flip.”

Mr Maga also pointed to recent funding cuts of up to $15m per year at Worksafe that mean the Forestry Industry Safety Council (FISC) will lose 25-40% of its annual funding and compromise its ability to engage with forestry workers over crucial safety risks in the industry.

“Decisions like this show that it isn’t the imaginary ‘red tape’ being cut,” said Mr Maga. “It’s the safety net, and it means more people will die at work so the Government can roleplay as ‘responsible economic managers’.”

FIRST Union Kaiwhakahaere Syd Keepa said the disestablishment of Te Aka Whai Ora (the Māori Health Authority) and scrapping of long-standing health plans to limit tobacco sales and create a smokefree generation were direct attacks on tangata whenua and would mean more unnecessary suffering and death.

“Te Tiriti o Waitangi is an inconvenience to these people,” said Mr Keepa. “They have no respect for our founding document and no concept of their role in a partnership with Māori to create a more equal society.”

“It’s a cocktail of ideological stuff that has never worked in Aotearoa – two parts Thatcher and a binful of Rogernomics with a splash of expired Brash and the trickle-down of David Seymour on top. No one should have to drink that.”

“We should be investing in our young people, not taking important health services away from them while lining the pockets of rich corporates and political donors.”

Dennis Maga said that contrary to popular cliche, businesses were not benefitting from a right-wing Government, either.

“We’re hearing from employers that they’re frustrated by the chaotic approach and lack of strategic direction from the Government, with interventions appearing to benefit no one in New Zealand and following no overarching plan,” said Mr Maga.

“Just as many employers were figuring out post-Covid that higher wages were the key to filling staff shortages and retaining good workers, the Government is telling them to create and entrench a new wage floor across the board.”

“Brooke van Velden and the ACT Party barged the door open during productive Fair Pay Agreement negotiations and walked out with the bargaining table – they have offered no alternatives and left everyone involved scratching their heads.”

“So far, this has been a Government of self-enrichment and entitlement, of climate denial under Parliamentary urgency, of identity politics, misdirections and smokescreens.”

“No one voted for this and no one deserves it.”

 

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