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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.

6 Responses to “A Chorus of Casualties”

  1. Downunder says:

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

    This is another way of looking at it?

  2. mama says:

    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.

  3. Downunder says:

    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.

  4. mama says:

    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.

  5. mama says:

    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.

  6. mama says:

    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.

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