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A Chorus of Casualties

Filed under: General — Downunder @ 12:06 pm Tue 9th October 2018

This week we’ve seen an investigation, and unusually, a joint investigation, into Chorus by IRD and employment authorities.

It follows on the back of news last week that two major media interests have not been granted permission to merge (The actual decision wasn’t available but if anyone does see it, a link would be a handy resource)

In a small country, that otherwise wouldn’t allow protected industry situations, men have a problem.

When free market rules cannot apply in an insulated operation, then we must expect to see consideration given to the means and not simply the end product of any participating company.

It is the use and treatment of immigrant labour that has triggered the investigation. My experience of this is around minimum wage manipulation by working more hours than is declared or underpaying the minimum rate, and while this is sometimes by agreement with immigrants either way it undermines the tax take.

While we shouldn’t be unconcerned about immigrant men being treated as slave labour we shouldn’t ignore what was the existing problem.

The fixed rate contracts that Chorus enforces constrain small business operators to unrealistic market conditions. The trading as Kiwi can do, cannot function under these conditions. Any good keen man, trying to meet HIS compliance requirements, while not screwing over his fellow Kiwi employees, is not likely to have a sucessful business.

If he doesn’t pull the plug soon enough, then these live-in-hope situations end in receivership and bankruptcy.

This doesn’t provide a stable environment in either business or socially for relationships and families.

For the enterprising man it is another situation in disguise. When the big building company goes belly up, you see it all at once. Here, it is a slow motion rolling stone, that is still a destructive environment for subbies but it doesn’t make the news.

The situation has gone on long enough to contribute a subsequent problem, and what will not be investigated is where this started and how it initially affected Kiwi small business operators and employees.

Where it might have affected woman, was probably the partner/mother sitting at home doing the paperwork.


  1. I saw your comment here Mama, about sitting at home doing the paperwork.

    This is another way of looking at it?

    Comment by Downunder — Tue 9th October 2018 @ 12:44 pm

  2. Interesting subject Downunder, we live rurally and so plenty of work to do on old lines and transformers.
    All of the guys I have seen are older, say 40 ish, and look to be Nigerian or along there lines.
    Although the other day trenching and line laying was indeed being done by younger guys.
    I only recently found out that Chorus are a state run company? a bit unsure of the details around that, maybe you can enlighten me.

    Comment by mama — Tue 9th October 2018 @ 2:04 pm

  3. Different subjects to the effects of the business model discussed above.

    But, yes the industry training for ongoing workers has been raised before.

    And infastructure investment tends to run on a crisis management only strategy.

    Comment by Downunder — Tue 9th October 2018 @ 2:10 pm

  4. I just looked up Infrastructure NZ only to find there also ‘Infrastructure for women”.. talk about a helping hand, so many hands.

    When will the investment stop, when will the investment begin, we now know that we have far too few apprenticeships in the building industry, thank god at least, albeit by forced hand, that has now started to change.
    Even then it has been regulated such that a wage for a young person in that industry in general, is way lower than the minimum wage.

    Comment by mama — Tue 9th October 2018 @ 3:14 pm

  5. PS, Mr Downunder, I love the headline to the post, very catchy. Have you thouhgt up any names recently, no, not dem ones, for the group Silly.

    Comment by mama — Tue 9th October 2018 @ 3:16 pm

  6. The commercialisation of the apprenticeships has it’s good and bad points.

    The lower than minimum wage had to be there for it to exist for the small business in order for it to work.

    The bulk young fellows that take part now are not reaping any reward from taking part except to say , if they hang in there, after three point five years you will be able to get a great wage having become qualified.
    These new training establishments who are well funded by the government can afford themselves fat cat top shelf people, fleets of new cars on regular basis, etc.

    If this were a female dominated field it would be called discrimination bordering on slavery.

    Comment by mama — Wed 10th October 2018 @ 6:21 am

  7. Did this go anywhere or did it die a media death?

    Comment by Evan Myers — Sat 10th November 2018 @ 8:40 pm

  8. Chorus says it will work to ensure all its subcontractors can earn “a decent wage” after admitting more than 100 firms involved in the roll-out of its ultrafast broadband network may have breached labour laws.

    The company announced dozens of changes to the way it oversees work on the UFB network and released a report that said its suppliers needed to ensure their supply chains were free from “discrimination, harassment, corruption and bribery”.

    The report – which Chorus commissioned from professional services firm MartinJenkins – revealed more than half of the 1600 workers hooking up homes to UFB for Chorus were migrants on temporary work visas, and that more than 70 per cent had English as a second language.

    Men are accepting of hard work but they shouldn’t be tolerant of exploitation.

    The voices on the ground knew what was happening and so did the board room 3 years before they were forced to take action.

    The media was concerned about men, there had to be another issue.

    It couldn’t be clearer that we have gender publication issues.

    Comment by Evan Myers — Fri 12th April 2019 @ 10:56 am

  9. Interesting that Shipley is being chased now for (last count I think) $73 million for reckless trading.

    The damage here would be a lot more than that. The idea that the men at the bottom are not economic contributors to the economy of there own account should have been taken on board after centuries of proven failure.

    There’s too many unanswered questions here as the report is supposedly for the benefit of the board, certainly not for those life’s, small businesses’ and other’s who have been left with enforced failure.

    That’s before we even start drawing comparisons with the economic damage of the Family Court.

    Comment by Downunder — Fri 12th April 2019 @ 11:57 am

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