Does the name Rino ring a bell? Yep, and today he might even make the headlines

Rino Tirikatene? Is he one of the Labour bunch?

It turns out he is. Alf is suitably abashed that he had not paid much attention to him, although – now he has been alerted – he can see Rino is a biggish bloke and should not have been overlooked.

The alert was triggered by Rino’s sponsorship of the Employment Relations (Protection of Young Workers) Amendment Bill, which was drawn from the Members’ Ballot today.

A media statement (here) spared Alf the need to read the proposed legislation.

As Rino explains it, the Bill was initially drafted by Labour MP Darien Fenton in 2007.

It aims to recognise young Kiwis in the workforce as employees rather than contractors.

He says –

“There has been a long tradition in New Zealand of young people delivering newspapers and leaflets. This Bill aims to protect youth in these kinds of contractual arrangements.

“Our under 16 year olds should not be expected to operate as independent contractors. They shouldn’t have to manage their own tax, pay their own ACC or employ their own subcontractors.

“Labour values hard working Kiwis no matter what age they are. This Bill gives young workers the right to be treated fairly, as well as rights to personal grievance, to written agreements, and other employment entitlements.

“It is a basic measure to improve children’s overall working conditions and I look forward to commending it to the House,” Rino Tirikatene said.

Alf, naturally, will be voting against it.

Purely on a point of principle: if it is being promoted by a leftie, it must be pap.

But what else has Rino done since his election to Parliament?

Alf was hard pressed to think of anything significant.

Whoa.

Mrs Grumble has jogged his memory – he did write an article (here) that was aired in some newspapers in May.

It kicked off by saying that we Kiwis believe in giving things a fair go and are famed for our willingness to work for equality.

Which, of course, is true.

But not Rino, because he proceeded to rail against opposition to Maori seats on the Nelson City Council.

He thinks in quotas.

The Nelson City Council should be commended for supporting the establishment of a Maori ward. In 2001 less than 2 per cent of all local body politicians identified as Maori, in 2007 it was less than 5 per cent, and on the Nelson City Council I’m only aware of one councillor ever identifying as Maori.

Maori make up 8 per cent of Nelson’s population. So in a world of perfect representation there should be at least one Maori councillor from term to term.

But why?

Dunno what the percentage of buffoons might be in this country.

But we have heaps of the buggers – an undue proportion, Alf suspects – in Parliament, sitting on the opposition benches.

Nobody complains much about this unhappy consequence of citizens being free to vote for whomsoever they please.

If they prefer a white buffoon to a bloody bright Maori, then so be it.

Another article by Rino (here) dealt with privatisation.

He described it as an article of faith for this Government, but “a failed formula for economic growth…”

Rino proceeded to make a raft of points that raised Alf’s dander – and his blood pressure – more than somewhat.

For example –

It’s an insult to New Zealanders to flog off the assets we built, maintain and own to, more likely than not, overseas interests.

And he said –

The Government has refused to insert a mechanism in its privatisation bill that will give New Zealanders the first right to purchase.

This demonstrates, of course, that he does not bellieve in equality and equitability.

He favours some people being given a better deal than other people.

He also clings to Labour Party dogma –

The Labour Party is vehemently opposed to asset sales.

These articles do serve a purpose.

They each tell Alf that Rino Tirikatene is the MP for Te Tai Tonga.

That’s good to know.

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