Maori Unionist Warns Against National
October 1, 2008
A prominent Maori unionist is sending the Maori Party a strong reminder of Nationals track record with workers.
Syd Keepa, Convenor of Kai Mahi Maori Council of Trade Unions Runanga and a Maori Party supporter, says the National Party cannot be trusted when it comes to workers rights.
“Putting the boot into workers is at the very heart of the National Party’s being,” he says.
“Their front bench is pretty much unchanged from the last time they were the Government. They sold off state assets throwing thousands of Maori out of work, they introduced the Employment Contracts Act which put industrial relations back into the dark ages and they cut benefits.
“Maori suffered a great deal from these policies and we don’t want a re-run of them.
“I know the Maori Party wants to do the best they can for Maori, and will look at all options to achieve this, but they need to be very wary of National.
“Maori are still concentrated in the lower paid occupations. We all have aspirations to change this but right now they work in jobs that need the protection of unions and good industrial law.
“Nationals core support is among people who hate unions and want to keep wages low. I don’t think they will be able to resist reverting to their old ways if they have the power to do so.”
Mr Keepa says it was only three years ago that the National Party ran a Maori bashing campaign.
“It’s a big stretch of the imagination to believe they have fundamentally changed.”