Honest, Hone … we are planning to make young people more employable, not to enslave them

Here’s what Hone thinks is happening…

Ha! We should have expected a bucket of bollocks from the Mana Party in response to your splendid Government’s highly commendable intention to introduce new labour laws.

He calls it slavery.

Not so. The legislation will allow employers to pay 80% of the minimum wage, or $10.80 and hour to some teenage workers for the first six months in a new job.

A Radio NZ item (here) explains that workers aged 16 and 17 can already be paid the lower wage for three months.

But when we are offering those young people a good deal – then why not let more young people share the goodies and enjoy them for a longer period?

And so the Minimum Wage (Starting-out Wage) Amendment Bill extends the special wage to the first six months of a new job and includes 18- and 19-year-olds who have been on a benefit.

It will also apply to those aged 16 to 19 who are in industry training courses.

So why is this a good policy?

Because –

The Government says it will encourage employers to take on inexperienced job seekers.

Business New Zealand says it will help young Maori and Pacifica workers who have few skills into their first jobs, but the Council of Trade Unions says the jobs aren’t there.

And who disagrees?

Oh, yes.

The Mana Party and Hone Harawira.

He issued a media statement (here), saying the new policy will result in only one thing – more of our youth packing their bags for Australia in search of higher wages.

This, of course, would be a good thing if the youth who do pack their bags for Australia happen to be supporters of the Mana Party.

But Hone went on to say –

“People can’t even live on the minimum wage of $13.50 an hour. How the hell can the government expect anybody to live on just over $10 an hour? No wonder this country is experiencing new levels of poverty”.

“This policy is nothing but slave labour.”

Hone should have a good look at the fishing industry before getting all antsy about slave labour.

Alf was reminded of an item at Maui Street (here) headed Iwi back slavery on our seas

It was prompted by the Swain report on slave fishing and it posed a good question: What does the report have to do with Maori?

It proceeded to provide the answer:

Well, many of the foreign vessels guilty of slave fishing are fishing on behalf of Maori. Maori sell the rights to their catch because, the argument goes, Maori do not have the capacity to fish their quota themselves. This is true, but it’s also a massive cop out.

It further argued:

If iwi leaders fail to move on this issue, then they’re morally bankrupt. They are, in other words, complicit in slavery. If this was Maori getting, say, raped at sea you can bet that iwi leaders would be encouraging Maori to blow up Parliament.

At the moment, the only Maori seeing the benefits of the Maori fishing quota are the iwi elite. Maori aren’t in fishing jobs and the revenue that is generated from contracting out our quota certainly isn’t “trickling down”. We should demand better.

And let’s not forget that the “slavery” which Hone is railing against is somewhat different from the slavery practised by Alf’s forebears -and, let’s face it, by Hone’s.

Indeed, you could say Maori made something of a meal of the slavery caper.

A description of Maori slavery is among items you can check out at The Prow (here), a collaboration between the Nelson City, Tasman and Marlborough District Libraries, Nelson Marlborough Institute of Technology and The Nelson Provincial Museum.

It reminds us that –

As in many other cultures, slavery was a key element of Maori society. Mokai were usually spoils of war, condemned to lives of drudgery, danger, heavy physical work and obedience to their masters or mistresses’ whims; they were expected to fight under supervision, could be used to negotiate with enemies, or as food if supplies were short. Female slaves might be prostitutes, or become secondary wives to their conquerors.

Another of Alf sources (here) says –

The Maori were warriors and many wars took place between tribes. The losers often became slaves or were eaten; the Maori believed that they could gain the enemy’s power by eating the body of the enemy.

Funny thing, eating your enemy.

Presumably, you don’t like him.

So you finish up eating something you don’t like.

Alf doesn’t much like greens…

Or Greens.

But Metiria Turei and her mob are safe.

Alf does not believe he could gain his enemy’s power by eating them, and even if he did believe it – well, what sort of power would you get from that lot.

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