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Politicians pay increase, health workers on trial

Alliance Party media release Friday 1 December 2006 FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

"If you're a politician, you get an automatic pay increase – if you're a health worker, you get put on trial"

Alliance Party President Victor Billot says politicians are grabbing a fat pay increase, while striking health workers are bearing the brunt of employer and media attacks.

Senior members of Parliament are getting pay increases of between 4% and 8.1%, backdated to July, it was announced this week.

In the same week, health workers on strike for modest wage increases have been attacked by senior managers and doctors for endangering patients – yet the "Labour" Government stands back and refuses to get involved.

Mr Billot says Minister of Health Pete Hodgson's comments on National Radio this week that strikes were "all from the same stable" sounded like National Party talk.

"The Minister should be backing health sector workers, not repeating the lies that say health workers are being led by the nose."

Mr Billot says there are two pay scales operating in New Zealand.

"There is the fat cat pay scale for MPs, CEOs and senior managers, where pay increases are automatically approved by fellow fat cats."

"Then there is the pay scale for everyone else, where if you go on strike to keep your wages up with inflation, you are attacked in the corporate media as being the forces of evil."

Mr Billot says the Alliance has no confusion as to whose side it is on.

"We are for workers and we support the claims of the health sector workers."

Mr Billot says the Alliance has identified a possible saving, as it supported MPs pay being set at the same level as that of a skilled worker.

"At the current pay rate, that should save millions."

ENDS

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