Coalition agreements threaten the well-being of New Zealanders

The coalition agreements set out by the incoming government are nothing less than an attack on working Kiwis, their rights, and their needs said the New Zealand Council of Trade Unions.

NZCTU President Richard Wagstaff said, “The programme provided today shows that incoming Government is out of touch with the priorities of New Zealanders, and the challenges that they face.”

“It is telling that one of the first areas of work they have highlighted for action is the repeal of Fair Pay Agreements, and the reintroduction of 90-day trials. Both measures are designed to reduce security for workers, and to make it easier to fire employees.

“At a time of economic hardship for many in a cost-of-living crisis, this is simply appalling and insensitive.

“We are alarmed to hear that they wish to revise already weak health and safety regulations, especially in light of the high fatalities and serious injuries experienced in the workplace today. Removing the ability to challenge your employment status as a contractor will also mean that more workers face discrimination and exploitation.

“National’s tax plan now makes even less fiscal sense given that significant parts of it have been withdrawn due to the loss of the foreign buyers’ tax. This puts a $3 billion gap in their plans which is not addressed in the agreements. We are highly concerned that they will fill the gap with even deeper cuts to essential public services like schools and hospitals. The government should provide transparency urgently as to how that gap will be filled.

“The incoming Government makes clear in its documents that public services will be stripped further and faster than previously thought. At the same time new commitments are made for health and education without any new funding. This will mean deeper cuts to services all Kiwis rely upon. The commitment to part privatising elements of health and education should particularly concern New Zealanders.

“All New Zealanders should be deeply concerned at the attacks on Māori, highlighted by the proposals by to remove co-governance and bodies such as the Māori Health Authority. The proposal to Introduce a Treaty Principles Bill risks damaging community relations in New Zealand, and does nothing to support Māori. The government is a Treaty partner and should recognise and honour its agreements to the Treaty, rather than abdicate its responsibilities.

“These proposals confirm the worst fears of the New Zealand public about the incoming government. This programme will damage the lives of many middle- and low-income Kiwis and will set back progress on essential issues. Now is the time for all organisations around Aotearoa to unite to challenge this dangerous and damaging direction for the country.”

/Public Release. View in full here.