Gordon Campbell | Parliament TV | Parliament Today | News Video | Crime | Employers | Housing | Immigration | Legal | Local Govt. | Maori | Welfare | Unions | Youth | Search


Len Brown and the Chambermaids

Len Brown and the Chambermaids

by Don Franks

It has been a diverting bit of light entertainment, but I really could not give a toss what happens to Len Brown.

The indignant – ooh, he’s embarrassing our our city - chorus is funnier than Len’s original gaffe.

It’s only the sleek smug syphoners of surplus-value who really care about Auckland’s image.

That lot, their minders and spinners, plus a few working people temporarily conned into thinking they have a stake in the city because they live there.

It is the anonymous Aucklanders who really matter, not the likes of Len.

If lame Len and his whole fractious council were kidnapped tomorrow and never returned, the real city of Auckland would not miss a beat.

Mail would be delivered, bread would be baked, walls would be painted and beds would be made.

At this time, it is the bed makers that I am reminded of.

The good councillors of Auckland are cross because their mayor got free hotel nights and free upgrades from nice rooms to even nicer rooms. If the mayor had declared these perks, it would, for most of his colleagues, then have been ok. The room cleaning, bed making and laundering required is work invisible to most city councillors and also to many other citizens.

To me, for a few months, hotel bed making was a temporary headache.

During my brief period as a Unite union organiser, I tried hard to improve the conditions of several female hotel workers. On my first visit to one huge building some of them worked in I was, in the few minutes allowed for my visit, appealed to by some of the workers to help them. The number of rooms they had to clean and bed make was too many in the time allotted. Their backs were sore they said, and their worn faces told me that far more plainly than their words of broken English.

With the help of a very keen delegate I tried to get a united meeting together. We tried several times, but could never get enough workers on board at once to make an impact. Towards the end, the exasperated delegate began to blame her fellow workers for being apathetic. I don’t think they were, they just did not have quite enough faith in the visiting stranger to throw in their whole lot with me.

At one stage I nearly cracked it, blackmailing the boss with the threat of a letter to the local paper revealing condoms left in beds because the workers had not enough time to make them properly. The boss sweated for a while, but managed to deflect our missile just in time.

In the end I had to give up on that hotel, realising that my skills were not strong enough to secure a united front from the staff.

It bothered me a lot to know that the unhappy women in the hotel wearily struggled to make too many beds for too little money.

For all I know, they are still trapped in that same situation today.

That is why, when all is said and done, I don’t give a stuff about what happens to Len Brown. Whatever the final outcome, his situation will never be as hard as that of the women who cleaned and made up the beds in which he enjoyed himself.


© Scoop Media

Parliament Headlines | Politics Headlines | Regional Headlines

Gordon Campbell: On Drone Strikes And Judith Collins‘ Last Stand

The news that a New Zealand citizen was killed last November in a US drone attack in Yemen brings the drones controversy closer to home.

To the US, drones are a legitimate response to the threat posed by the al Qaeda organisation and its franchisees... To the US, the drones carry the added advantage of not putting US troops at risk on the ground, and minimises the need for putting them in large numbers in bases in the countries concerned, always a politically sensitive point.

The counter-argument, well articulated by security analyst Paul Buchanan on RNZ this morning, is that this particular drone attack can be said to amount to an extra-judicial execution of a New Zealand citizen by one of our military allies, in circumstances where the person concerned posed no threat to New Zealand’s domestic security. More>>


Parliament Today:

Policies: Labour’s Economic Upgrade For Manufacturing

Labour Leader David Cunliffe has today announced his Economic Upgrade for the manufacturing sector – a plan that will create better jobs and higher wages. More>>


Gordon Campbell: On The Life And ACC Work Of Sir Owen Woodhouse

With the death of Sir Owen Woodhouse, the founding father of the Accident Compensation Scheme, New Zealand has lost one of the titans of its post-war social policy. More>>


Bad Transnationals: Rio Tinto Wins 2013 Roger Award

It won the 2011 Roger Award and was runner up in 2012, 2009 and 08. One 2013 nomination said simply and in its entirety: “Blackmailing country”... More>>


Select Committees: Tobacco Plain Packaging Hearings

The Stroke Foundation is today backing the Cancer Society and Smokefree Coalition who are making oral submissions to the Health Select Committee in support of proposed legislation to remove of all branding from tobacco products. More>>


Milk: Oravida Asked For Cabinet Help

New evidence released by New Zealand First today reveals Justice Minister Judith Collins used her position to manipulate the Government to help her husband’s company, Oravida, after the Fonterra botulism scare, says New Zealand First Leader Rt Hon Winston Peters. More>>


With Conditions: Ruataniwha Consents Approved In Draft Decision

The Tukituki Catchment Proposal Board of Inquiry has granted 17 resource consents relating to the $265 million Ruataniwha Water Storage Scheme in a draft decision that would open more of the Hawke’s Bay to irrigation. More>>


Fast Lanes, Campervans: Labour 'Making The Holidays Easier For Kiwi Drivers'

The next Labour Government will make the holidays easier and journeys quicker for Kiwi families driving on the roads, says Labour Leader David Cunliffe. More>>


Gordon Campbell: On Royalty And Its Tourism Spin-Offs

Ultimately the Queen’s longevity has been one of her most significant accomplishments. A transition to Prince Charles while the monarchy was in the pits of public esteem in the mid to late 1990s would have been disastrous for the Royal Firm. Far more congenial representatives have now emerged... More>>


Privacy (Again): ACC Demands Excessive Privacy Waivers

Labour: “This is just another example of ACC under National deliberately acting to deny treatment and compensation... Those who did fill in the form have effectively been victims of yet another ACC privacy breach. This time Judith Collins knew it was happening..." More>>


Get More From Scoop



Search Scoop  
Powered by Vodafone
NZ independent news