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Labour shouldn't take worker vote for granted

17 July 2006

Labour shouldn't take worker vote for granted

"Labour should not take the support and votes of workers for granted," Sue Bradford, Green Party Industrial Relations spokesperson says.

She was replying to today's statement by Labour M.P. and former trade unionist Darien Fenton that there was "no contest" as to which party is the best for workers.

"It is interesting that the first two issues that Darien Fenton chose to highlight in her assertion were paid parental leave and four weeks holiday. Both these issues were forced onto Labour's agenda by its coalition partners over the last few years," Sue Bradford says.

"Likewise the policy to increase the minimum wage to $12.00 by 2008 was forced on Labour by the Greens and NZ First during government formation talks in 2005.

"I am please to see Darien Fenton admit that "no-one is saying there isn't more to do" however if Labour wants to be the party for workers that it claims it does there are some urgent issues that must be addressed.

"The recent Ministry of Social Development living standards report showing that severe hardship had increased from 18-26 percent from the years 2000 to 2004 is a huge wake up call for the Labour Party. Labour must immediately extend working for families to those on benefits, and re-instate the special benefit to begin to turn these statistics around.

"My Minimum Wage (Abolition of Age Discrimination) Bill is currently before select committee. A party claiming to be the "best for workers" must support this Bill. I have yet to receive this assurance from Labour," Sue Bradford says.

Ms Bradford noted that Green Party has had a large intake of active trade union members over the last year.

"It seems there is a contest as to which party is best for workers, a contest that the Green Party is more than happy to participate in," Sue Bradford concludes.


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