Te Pāti Māori Stands with Workers

Te Pāti Māori will be strongly opposing the Fair Pay Agreements Legislation Repeal Bill this Government is trying to pass before Christmas.

30 years ago, the Employment Contracts Act 1991 removed sector-wide bargaining from our industrial relations system. According to unionist and workers’ rights advocate Annie Newman, this implemented “one of the most radical individualised employment relations systems in the world.

The Fair Pay Agreements Act 2022 would have significantly lifted wages and employment conditions for workers, particularly those on low incomes.

“For far too long Māori have been treated as second-class citizens in the job market. We’ve been used and abused, working in tough and often inhuman conditions to keep this country’s economy running” said co-leader Debbie Ngarewa-Packer.

The median hourly wage for Māori is $24.98, compared to $28.01 for Pakeha.

“Māori, Pasifika, young people, and Whānau Hāua are over-represented in jobs where low pay, job security, health and safety, and upskilling are significant issues. Minimum industry-wide standards provide a baseline regardless of whether you are a member of a union or not” said Ngarewa-Packer.

“Health and safety problems in industries like forestry, farming, trucking and fisheries often kill Māori at work.

“Te Pāti Māori supported the Fair Pay Agreements Act because it would have been one of the most significant policies in lifting the wages of working Māori” said Ngarewa-Packer.

“We should be focused on lifting whānau out of poverty. Instead, this government is ramming through legislation under urgency to keep their wages low. Legislation that will keep them in insecure work with unfair and dangerous conditions. It’s disgusting.

“As we head into the Christmas period, people are struggling to put food on the table, pay their bills and fill up their gas tanks.

“Every whānau in Aotearoa should have enough to live well, to be able to spend time with their whānau, and to work in safe conditions” Ngarewa-Packer said.