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Labour's true colours are not "Red"

18 October 2005

Labour's true colours are not "Red"

This Government is not the one the workers of South Auckland voted for, nor Maori, when they overwhelmingly gave their party votes to Labour.

Nor is a Labour Government that depends on NZ First and United Future for its survival what the teachers', nurses' and other unions had in mind when they worked so hard to defeat the Right.

The Alliance says Labour has abused the mandate that was given to it to form a centre-Left Government with the Greens and the Maori Party.

Alliance president Jill Ovens says Helen Clark's decision to cut the Greens out of coalition sends a strong signal that this is a Government that will move further to the Right.

"Rod Donald is correct when he says the new Government has the potential to be completely reactionary.

"This may well be good for the Greens as they won't be tainted by being in Government, but it will not be good for ordinary people."

Though some of the blame must be sheeted home to the Maori Party for its continued overtures to National, the onus was on Helen Clark to initiate talks with both the Greens and Maori Party.

"The whole negotiation process was based on playing one Party off against the others. The centre-Left parties should have been brought in together and a deal worked out. "Clark did not have to kowtow to Peter Dunne's demands that the Greens be excluded. She did not need his numbers. She obviously wanted him in there as a foil to the Left. It was a deliberate choice."

The Alliance says the make-up of the new Government does not bode well, and should be seen as nothing less than a complete betrayal of working people and their organisations.

"The CTU has no reason to be supportive. Unions cannot expect to see any improvements in workers' rights under this Government.

"Even Peters' demands for a $12 minimum wage have a hollow ring."

The minimum wage should be nearer $14, based on the ILO standard of two-thirds of the average wage (now just under $21 an hour).

The minimum wage is reviewed annually, and $12 could well have been achieved by 2008 anyway, which is when NZ First has said the new minimum hourly rate should come in.

"At the beginning of the 1990s, it wasn't uncommon for workers to be getting $11 an hour in factories. Caregivers were on $8 an hour. Fifteen years later these workers have seen no more than a few dollars' increase in their pay packets - and they've lost penal rates to boot.

"People are taking home less now than they were then. Beneficiaries are still suffering under the cuts made by Shipley in 1991.

"The rich have got richer under both National and Labour Governments, while ordinary people who are the backbone of this country have lost out big time."

This is a Government that will be very business friendly, the Alliance says.

"It will not be a friend of the workers. Jim Anderton has already signalled he favours cuts in corporate taxes, and now Peter Dunne has been put in charge of revenue. It's a bit like putting the fox in charge of the chicken coop."

ENDS


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