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Completely Daft

Entry 810, on 2008-07-07 at 20:11:13 (Rating 4, Politics)

There seems to have been a recent race by both main political parties in New Zealand to occupy the middle ground of the political spectrum here. Even National have seemed quite centrist and reasonable recently. Of course, we should be concerned about this because the ideas revealed to the public to help their election chances and the actual policies they might implement when they win are two very different things.

An indicator of their true intentions might be the plan to allow small businesses to get rid of new workers without the usual safeguards during a 90-day probation period. The prime minister has branded the idea "completely daft".

Well in some ways it is and in others it isn't, but its clearly an idea which firmly belongs in the right of the political spectrum and I think its an indicator of what the National Party might do when elected. So 90% of the population should be concerned about this because it gives the employer total control without any checks and balances. Is this a balanced policy we would expect from a reasonable centrist party? I don't think so.

Analysts have claimed that the option of firing a new employee is unlikely to be used very often by employers. Well if that's the case then surely the few times it does happen would not be too disruptive even if they were controlled by the unjustified dismissal laws we currently have.

Its also claimed that the ability to easily remove employees who can't do the job well will encourage employers to employ people who they might not employ otherwise. This might include long term unemployed and people with criminal records. Yes, that is possibly a valid point but its one already covered by existing law. It is possible to fire employees who don't perform - you just have to have a good reason to do so. Is that really a problem?

The other issue I have is the arbitrary nature of the idea. It is limited to small companies of 20 or less employees. Why? If the idea is to get employment for marginal people then why not make it available to everyone? Also why limit it to 90 days. The person could be on their best behaviour for that time then suddenly go bad on day 91. Why not make the law apply permanently?

You can see that the two arguments for extending the law I just made to make sense and that is another issue I am concerned with. This could be the "thin end of the wedge" and might lead to less fair employment regulations in general. I don't want to be the purveyor of the old "slippery slope" logical fallacy but the possibility of this happening is real.

Anyway, I don't think the idea is really completely daft - a majority of respondents on the Herald poll on the subject supported it - but I do think it should make us be aware that the new centrist National Party isn't maybe as centrist as they would have us believe!

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Comment 2 (1488) by OJB on 2008-07-16 at 19:50:14: (view earlier comments)

I didn't say *I* wanted National to be centrist, I said that's where they seemed to be trying to position themselves. Presumably they didn't want to be seen as too supportive of the previous new-right policies which are now very unpopular (and rightly so in general). But maybe moves such as this indicate they are a bit more right leaning than they want us to think.

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Comment 3 (1491) by SBFL on 2008-07-16 at 22:12:20:

OJB said: "Of course, we should be concerned about this because the ideas revealed to the public to help their [National] election chances and the actual policies they might implement when they win are two very different things."
- well if so, I am sure OJB feels the same about Labour..anti-smaking bill, prostitution reform bill etc?

OJB said: "and I think its an indicator of what the National Party might do when elected. " ...and they said it beforehand, contradicting your opening paragraph.

OJB said: "gives the employer total control without any checks and balances." FALSE statement. You didn't mention that the empoyer must be one of lower than 20 employees (more leftist spin?) Have you actually looked at the pros of this approach or merely taken an anti view? Eg Did you know that it opens more opportunities for those who have criminal convictions? Employers can take a chance on them whereas otherwise they would have stayed clear. This can only be good for the lower ebbs of society. They now have some sort of a chance to contribute rather than be condemned to live off the welfare state (hard work of others).

As a person who hires people, I can assure you that it costs a lot to find and recruit people and firing them willy-nilly makes no sense so your fears are ungrounded. We employers want to find suitable staff, we have no time to play silly games hiring and firing. Please wake up to the real world. Better strike that argument off your leftist agenda.

Okay you later mention the 20 employee limit. And you ask why? Well because bigger companies have the resourses to deal with rogue employees, small companies do not. Read the policy!!!

Now you nitpick over the number of days. There has to be a reasonable timeframe. 3 months makes snese to me. In case you didn't know, that is the norm for probationary periods.

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Comment 4 (1498) by OJB on 2008-07-16 at 23:27:16:

I totally agree that all parties are liable to disguise some of their possible actions when elected. It might surprise you to know that, before National started swinging a bit to the right again, I was quite enthusiastic about them winning. I think Labour are looking really in need of renewal and being kicked out of power is the best way that can happen.

Maybe you didn't read the original post very carefully. I specifically said there were good aspects to this. I said: This might include long term unemployed and people with criminal records. Yes, that is possibly a valid point...

Having less than 20 employees is a check and balance? Doesn't sound that way to me!

I just pointed out that the size of the company and number of days were arbitrary values and could easily be changed to fit the requirements of the policy maker.

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Comment 5 (1504) by SBFL on 2008-07-16 at 23:55:22:

Define "checks and balances" then? Don't use it like a sound bite...I want substance!!
The reason for small (mom&pop) businesses has been explained, the reason for 3 months (90 days) has been explained. You got something better?

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Comment 6 (1510) by OJB on 2008-07-17 at 10:27:01:

Well there are existing laws for unjustified dismissal. I'm sure they're not perfect but they don't seem to cause too much controversy. let's just stick with them. The reason has not been explained at all. Those numbers are arbitrary and could just as easily me 6 months and 50 employees. Why not?

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