The good old days

July 20th, 2014 at 7:00 am by David Farrar

Stuff reports:

The slow rise of Wellington’s BNZ Centre came to represent the power of militant in the 1970s – and Con Devitt’s name would forever be associated with the protracted construction of the black monolith.

Myriad delays meant that, although the 103-metre-high building was designed in the late 1960s, it wasn’t occupied until 1984.

The Devitt-led Boilermakers’ Union claimed the exclusive right of its members to weld the structural steel, as industrial action added six years to the project.

Among the more memorable boilermakers’ stoppages was one prompted by union delegate “Black Jock” McKenzie’s dissatisfaction with his company-issue boots.

The industrial strife was so bad that New Zealand architects were deterred from designing future buildings in steel.

The BNZ Centre, now called the State Insurance Building, finally opened at a cost of $93 million – more than four times over budget.

The glory days for some on the left.

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68 Responses to “The good old days”

  1. Judith (8,534 comments) says:

    Hidden due to low comment rating. Click here to see.

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  2. peterwn (3,277 comments) says:

    There are some who still think that everything was fine up to Rogernomics and nothing need be changed. It was not glory days for the likes of rail ferry users who faced cancellations at critical times because of industrial action. Incidentally much of the industrial action was targeted indirectly against the government, for example, to increase farm subsidies so freezing industry workers could be paid more.

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  3. CHFR (229 comments) says:

    Sorry Judith that dog don’t hunt. I was a child in Wellington at the time and we all knew that it was due to the intransigence of the bolilermakers that we had a hold in the ground for years in Willis Street.

    The story of this building should told to anyone who thinks Unions are the solution to anything.

    Unions a 19th Century institution in a 21st century world.

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  4. Psycho Milt (2,412 comments) says:

    The glory days for some on the left.

    And the days when workers did 12-hour days with a 15-minute luncb break, were paid a pittance, lived in squalor and were beaten or killed if they tried to form unions were the glory days for some on the right. Shitheads exist, it’s not news.

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  5. Judith (8,534 comments) says:

    @ CHFR (215 comments) says:
    July 20th, 2014 at 7:47 am

    The story of this building should told to anyone who thinks Unions are the solution to anything.

    A story alright – one that forgets some of the main players and their part in it!

    Well I was an adult, and still are, and the evidence is still on the net if you do a search. Whilst the initial problems began with the Unions, the massive cost over-run was also due the way the BNZ conducted themselves after that. For example, the union matter was done and dusted by 1979, and the contract cancelled that same year, however, the banked stuffed around and didn’t re-start construction until late 1984, despite the new contract being signed 3 1/2 years beforehand in early 1981. So whilst as a child you may have bought into the popular rhetoric, the truth on the other hand is somewhat different. Started by the unions, but continued by BNZ.

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  6. Psycho Milt (2,412 comments) says:

    Unions a 19th Century institution in a 21st century world.

    So’s capitalism. Like unions, we haven’t found something else that does a better job yet.

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  7. Than (475 comments) says:

    Actually we have found something better – it’s called employment law. The vast majority of people employed in NZ do not belong to a union, and they get along just fine.

    Modern unions are nothing but a disruptive anachronism. The sooner they fade away (and the trend line of union membership makes it clear this will happen) the better.

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  8. lilman (960 comments) says:

    My experience with unions was we promised $25 dollars a nite to work a night shift by our employers,the Union found out about
    it and said they would negotiate for us.
    What we ended up with was 1 day extra ff a year and $1.95 a night.

    Serves us right.

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  9. Judith (8,534 comments) says:

    Sorry that post should have had ‘restarted and then occupied in 1984′ – been up for hours and not reading properly.

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  10. duggledog (1,559 comments) says:

    I knew some guys who worked on the Marsden point refinery in the 1980s they got paid 3 x what I got paid, for getting stoned and waiting around to be told when they could work.

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  11. flash2846 (287 comments) says:

    Unionists are self serving bludgers. No skills, no ambition, no creativity, no value.

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  12. duggledog (1,559 comments) says:

    You need employment unions and laws if you let disreputable ethnicities from third world countries into your country. Not naming names…

    Anyway for most, if you turn up on time, are easy to get along with, loyal and hard working, you’re gold dust to 99% of employers because you make them wealthy. That’s been my experience. Unions often disrupt and pervert this natural relationship

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  13. Simon (728 comments) says:

    “The vast majority of people employed in NZ do not belong to a union, and they get along just fine.”

    No they get on fine because employees have valuable skills experience & training and they operate in a market. Laws writtein but clowns in wellington have very little to do with the prospects of people.

    Other side of the coin to unions is the welfare state where people go where they do not have the skills to earn minium wage.

    In 2014 the unions exist for the benefits of its members at the expense of those forced onto welfare.

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  14. nasska (11,589 comments) says:

    The glory days of the unions…..how well I can remember them.

    NZ in the 1970’s. Two mortgages, three kids & a wife at home looking after them. Things tough but a regular, reasonable paying job with a rural cartage firm & we’re managing.

    Then at a union meeting comes the uneducated, whining voice of a two pound pom who has never done a decent day’s work in his life. “All oot brothers” & off home to another session of a crying wife who remembers the last strike when we had to scrounge & borrow money off friends & family to keep things together. Disagree with the union bosses & the firm you worked for was blacklisted & you’d be taken around the back of the hall for a kicking.

    To my dying breath I will hold contempt for unions & what they do. Happily most have gone the way of the dinosaurs.

    Only the teachers’ unions left to smash & we’re well on the way to living in a civilised 21st century country.

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  15. duggledog (1,559 comments) says:

    Nasska how many were from Scotland or the north of England: Answer: most of them.

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  16. nasska (11,589 comments) says:

    The delegates & organisers were always from “baaack hoom” duggledog.

    The scum always floats to the top.

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  17. slightlyrighty (2,475 comments) says:

    For years the uncompleted skeleton of this building was known as “The rusting tower of Visa”. For 6 years it stood as a monument to the fact that a union, (the boilermakers) had total say over how the building was constructed, regardless of the wishes of the people who actually owned the property.

    For 6 years we had a stark reminder of who was actually keeping the country down. I feel that the actions of the boilermakers actually hastened the demise of the union movement.

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  18. big bruv (13,935 comments) says:

    When you look at a lowlife like Joe Carolyn then it seems little has changed. Sadly there are still a lot of scum at the top of the union shit heap who hail from the UK & Ireland.

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  19. Nookin (3,361 comments) says:

    Mangere bridge, anyone?

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  20. thedavincimode (6,803 comments) says:

    BNZ were also to blame for their mismanagement and tardiness.

    Sounds like nursey had intimate knowledge of BNZ’s decision-making process. It’s hard to imagine why BNZ might have considered other options for the site, or that contract negotiations (including penalty clauses) with prospective construction firms wouldn’t have been anything less than entirely straight forward given the history.

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  21. PaulP (150 comments) says:

    My father was Chief a Industrial Officer for NZ Railways Corporation in the bad old days.

    He was either the longest serving or one of the longest serving as it was a pretty high stress job.

    Our usual Christmas school holidays were like this:
    1. Pack up to go on family holiday
    2. Get to camp ground – close to Wgtn for reasons that will be obvious
    3. Camp ground would be contacted when rail ferries were on strike for some stupid reason
    4. Dad back to work to discuss with unions what the stupid reason was
    5. Call from Minister to “get them back running”
    6. Stupid reason resolved and ferries back taking families across the Cook Strait for the holidays
    7. Repeat

    I have no issue with unions protecting vulnerable members but when they defend the indefensible (like the shunter that was fired for continually flopping his old feller out and pissing on the tracks at Picton in front of passengers) then it becomes a farce.

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  22. thedavincimode (6,803 comments) says:

    PaulP. Yes, that Morgan creature with the bad ties and the hat. Another grand-standing arsehole clinging to the trough with one hand and the 19th century with the other.

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  23. thedavincimode (6,803 comments) says:

    In fact, unlike the other arseholes previously mentioned, my impression with Morgan was that as much as anything else, it had lot to do with being on the public stage. He genuinely seemed to get off on causing trouble and being the centre of attention. Crooking his finger and having the telly and all the evil capitalists running around after him

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  24. WineOh (630 comments) says:

    The unions have served their purposes in the past in the days of highly exploitive labour environment. The industrial revolution was a time of massive transformation and the shift of a poor agricultural labour force into a middle-income urban/suburban one. The unions have fought and won important battles around working conditions, safety, hours.

    Modern first world work conditions are not like 19th century, at least in NZ and the majority of the developed world. The vast majority of employers are responsible and have a genuine desire to look after their staff, not just because its the right thing to do as a human being but because of the improved productivity and profitability as a result. Sure there are still rat-bags out there, but they there always will be regardless of what legislation is enacted to control it.

    As a result the unions have steadily lost their power and influence, they clung to the last vestiges of power by obstructive industrial action – however this was their ultimate downfall as the tide of public opinion has swung against them. The only major unions left with clout are the teachers union as Nasska pointed out above, but also the PPTA.

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  25. Ben2001 (26 comments) says:

    Given the construction problems and workforce attitudes it leave me wondering how well this building would perform in an earthquake.

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  26. David Garrett (7,318 comments) says:

    “…a 19th century institution in the 21st century”…Exactly..

    In my time I have been a site delegate for the (then) labourers union, and the (then) Engineers, the latter when working on the Methanol Plant construction in 1983. We used to get these guys up from Wellington who no-one ever heard of, who conducted stop work meetings on a Thursday. The result was ALWAYS a resolution to go on strike there and then, and return to work – in the company provided transport – on Monday morning.

    These resolutions were made by show of hands, although the rules said they were supposed to be secret ballots. I protested this more than once, only to be told I was “a brown nosed bosses c…t”

    The end for me came when one guy came to see me about a serious safety issue…an area of pipework he was working on was supposed to be “tagged out” (i.e depressurised), but it wasn’t, and a plug he removed nearly took his head off. I told him and his mates to stop work while I consulted “Noddy”, the head union man on site. Noddy said it wasn’t an appropriate time to have a stoppage, and he would go and sort out the issue with the pipework with the management. The end of union involvement for me.

    Everyone who worked on sites in the 70’s and 80’s will have similar stories…duggle talks about guys getting stoned waiting to be told when to work. On the Methanol Plant site, The scaffolders – upon whose work lots of guys lives depended – were permanently stoned…no-one dared tell anyone, because if you did you would be a “nark”.

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  27. SGA (1,076 comments) says:

    David Garrett at 9:49 am

    . On the Methanol Plant site, The scaffolders – upon whose work lots of guys lives depended – were permanently stoned…no-one dared tell anyone, because if you did you would be a “nark”.

    I remember hearing similar, from reliable sources, about the Marsden Point Expansion site.
    To be fair, I was also told that there was a little “game playing” both ways. If there was a going to be a bottleneck waiting for materials from overseas, then a short strike didn’t hurt management (if you know what I mean).

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  28. elscorcho (154 comments) says:

    I work in a very large public sector organisation, and I get pissed off at the PSA.

    For one, it focuses on niggly, bullshit things all the time. An individual gets fired for being incompetent and the PSA is in there boots and all trying to fight.
    But when the organisation “restructures” and dozens of *competent* people get removed, the PSA doesn’t care. We’ve had a constant sequence of restructures and the PSA hasn’t even suggested strike action (and believe me, we could hurt people by striking)
    Lastly, the PSA doesn’t give a damn about shady “jobs for the boys” employment practices. back in central government every single vacancy had to be gazetted for 2 weeks; in local government, you see jobs opened on a friday and closing on a sunday. Does the PSA care? no.

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  29. lurcher1948 (151 comments) says:

    Fuck DF and the right must have the shits up ,so far ahead and could fuck up, david f, your check is in the bank for all your (POSTS)??? key is home at his real home the USA.When did key stay in his homeland for a holiday,fuck hes obamas man

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  30. trout (939 comments) says:

    There seems to be a touch of historical revisionism in the above. The Boilermaker’s Union under Con Devitt totally sabotaged the BNZ job. They claimed exclusive rights to the job and prevented the work being completed by others. The BNZ tried every way which way to get around the problem without success. In the latter stages of the job the Boilermakers were paid $256.00 per hour to get it finished. The ultimate consequence of the Union intransigence was that steel framed towers were abandoned as an option in favour of reinforced concrete structure; once again the Unions ‘cut off their nose to spite their face’.

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  31. DJP6-25 (1,388 comments) says:

    Unions why?

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  32. David Garrett (7,318 comments) says:

    lurcher: Crikey…At first I thought your raving and incoherent posts were as a result of the drink…but its only 10.30 in the morning, so if that is the cause you have serious problems old boy…

    Well, you have serious problems anyway, whatever is causing it…

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  33. big bruv (13,935 comments) says:

    davinci

    ” He genuinely seemed to get off on causing trouble and being the centre of attention.”

    Sounds awfully like Bummer Bradbury.

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  34. David Garrett (7,318 comments) says:

    trout: Quite so…I believe it is still the case than no high rise with a structural steel frame has been built in NZ since the BNZ…someone will no doubt correct me if that is wrong…

    Does anyone remember the raft of freezing works closures that began with Patea in 1984? A good mate of mine was a freezing worker at Islington in Christchurch at the time..I remember him confidently saying that employers’ warnings of pending closures if the workers’ demands weren’t modified were “all bullshit”…Then Patea closed, pretty much destroying the economy of that town… it has never recovered…Within a year or two Islington was closed too.

    Does the Meatworkers Union as a national monolith still exist? I have a feeling they are all workplace unions these days?

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  35. Reid (16,523 comments) says:

    As we all know unions came about due to genuine abusive issues in the employment sector during the late 18th and early 19th century. They solved that problem and they were seen as necessary because after they’d solved the exploitation we then immediately had the 1930’s depression. During the war years it was seen as unpatriotic to strike then you had the 1950’s rebuild when you had the hero generation to whom discipline and sacrifice was a way of life so again you didn’t have the issue. With the social revolution in the 1960’s that’s when militancy of an unreasonable nature raised its head and has continued to this day, whereby even now some unionists still appear to hallucinate they’re back in the 1890’s fighting sweatshops and a shilling wage for an 18 hour shift.

    Unions served a social purpose which has disappeared with the alteration to the carrot and not the stick. Ironically the social welfare apparatus has been one of the main factors in their demise, since this allows people who would otherwise have been low wage union fodder to get by, without jobs. And as we know, the man who bought that in, Savage, is still revered by most core-Labourites including the unionists. Most of them probably have his photo on their walls. Ironic in that lefties hallucinate they’re the brainy ones, and two of their most revered figures – Savage and Hulun – are the very people who’ve damaged their movement more than anyone else.

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  36. David Garrett (7,318 comments) says:

    Reid: Your first para is spot on…unions were absolutely needed when – as you put it so well – they were “fighting sweatshops and a shilling wage for an 18 hour shift”. You could add “and there were few if any protections of health and safety”. That was also a time when most “workers” had very little education – my father left school in form II because the family couldn’t afford high school – and there were few if any laws to protect workers.

    We are all now far more literate – so less able to be conned into signing things we don’t understand – and we have a plethora of laws protecting workers…most of us would say we have far too many laws and regulations…

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  37. adze (2,126 comments) says:

    I always enjoy recalling a line from The Simpsons whenever the historic trajectory of trade unions around the world comes up:

    [Mr. Burns is reminiscing about his grandfather's old Atom Smashing Plant]
    Burns’ Grandfather: Come on, men! Smash those atoms! You there, turn out your pockets.
    [Two goons seize a waifish worker and turn out his pockets]
    Burns’ Grandfather: Aha – atoms! One, two, three, four… SIX of them! Take him away!
    Waif: You can’t treat the working man this way! One of these days we’ll form a union, and get the fair and equitable treatment we deserve! Then we’ll go too far, and become corrupt and shiftless, and the Japanese will eat us alive!

    Of course this episode came out in 1993, before the rise of China as the world’s second largest economy. :)

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  38. SGA (1,076 comments) says:

    David Garrett at 11:11 am

    We are all now far more literate – so less able to be conned into signing things we don’t understand – and we have a plethora of laws protecting workers…most of us would say we have far too many laws and regulations…

    Well, once the unions are all gone, they can go on the “to do” list :-)

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  39. Pharmachick (235 comments) says:

    I remember the boilermakers union (and others) and the strikes at NZ Forest Products at Kawerau and Kinleith in the 80s. They have served their purpose and its time to move on.

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  40. itstricky (1,852 comments) says:

    We are all now far more literate – so less able to be conned into signing things we don’t understand – and we have a plethora of laws protecting workers…most of us would say we have far too many laws and regulations…

    To match the plethora of laws protecting employers. As it should be. Regardless of how many laws there are or how difficult they are to understand, however, the ordinary worker still needs a lawyer every now and then. And hopefully one that they can afford.

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  41. David Garrett (7,318 comments) says:

    its tricky: (i’m feeling generous)

    Do tell us what the laws “protecting” employers are..

    Those protecting workers include: the Employment Relations Act; the Wages Protection Act; the Minimum Wage Act; the Holidays Act; the Health and Safety in Employment Act; the Human Rights Act…and those are just ones I can think of off the top of my head, without looking at any website…

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  42. davidp (3,581 comments) says:

    If you work for a dishonest exploitative employer like Kim Dotcom or one of his minions like Laile Harre or Hone Harawira, then you should consider joining a union. Otherwise don’t bother.

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  43. Pharmachick (235 comments) says:

    @David Garrett – I think the 90 day trial legislation primarily protects employers.

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  44. Psycho Milt (2,412 comments) says:

    Actually we have found something better – it’s called employment law. The vast majority of people employed in NZ do not belong to a union, and they get along just fine.

    1. Employment law sets some very basic minimum standards. It prevents the typical situation in the developing world, in which your employment contract is an elaborate list of lies, you serve at the employer’s pleasure, he pays you if, when and how much he likes, and your injury or death is of no consequence. Not suffering that situation isn’t the same thing as “getting along just fine.”

    2. The employees in NZ who are “getting along just fine” are the ones like me who are in industries that still have significant union penetration (ie, the public sector, because private sector employers have actively worked to eradicate unions since they were given the opportunity a couple of decades back), or the ones benefiting from skills shortages. Those outside these categories tend to be working multiple McJobs for whatever hours an employer is willing to offer, or have been turned into ‘contractors,’ whose employment situation is different to employees in the developing world only to the extent that employment law requires it. These people are most definitely not “getting along just fine.”

    I guess they’re certainly “getting along just fine” from a right-winger’s perspective, in that they’re doing badly, but not so badly that the prospect of putting their employment prospects at risk through conflict with employers looks like the lesser of two evils.

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  45. Reid (16,523 comments) says:

    The lefty hallucination that if the employment laws we have weren’t in place the first thing most if not all employers would do is bring out the whips and chains, is one of the two major factors that gums up the works in the economy. The other being the idiot bureaucratic approach adopted in Wgtn whereby 20-something policy analysts with their equally naive team leader superiors none of whom have ever worked outside the govt sector, promulgate millions of lines of policies per year all of which the local garage with 2 employees is expected to comply with.

    Both phenomena are in competition for being the most mental and the lead swaps depending which side gets in. Conservative govts make no discernable difference to the latter. They claim to but they don’t, at all, in any way. Which should piss off every single conservative in the country, but it doesn’t even feature in most people’s consciousness.

    You can tell this by the growth in legal specialties since the 1980’s. Back in the 1980’s it was unheard of to have a specialist firm for anything, most lawyers were generalists with criminal being the singular exception. Now, you have whole firms specialising in one legal area, like Chen Palmer or like the IP legal firms. This is because the number of laws have exploded and of course, for every act some govt dept has to write extensive policy for it to make sure that all we citizens go ahead and do whatever it is they want us to go and do, which is probably and usually what we were all going to do anyway, law or no law.

    But it’s another version of the lefty hallucination that all employers are evil at work in this area too, only this time, both sides suffer under it. Hulun’s execrable regime wrote a huge number of laws into the books. I wouldn’t be surprised if Key’s isn’t far behind, once its finished. And that’s the problem and our economy is never going to fulfill its potential unless and until someone who doesn’t hallucinate gets in and changes the whole practice. And local govt is just as bad. What was it the other day? 600 policy analysts in Auckland Council? See what I mean? Strike the root and the root is not the policy analysts, they’re just a flag, the root is the legislators.

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  46. David Garrett (7,318 comments) says:

    Pharmachick: Quite right…I had forgotten that one…

    Psycho: You are at least partly right…we do indeed live in a world where the lesser skilled often have to work two or more jobs on minimum wage or just above… and there is indeed an increasing move towards transforming employees into contractors – although the Courts do put a significant fetter on such attempts where the relationships is to all intents and purposes one of employer-employee…

    But this is the way of the western world…it is happening everywhere…we also have one of the easiest environments in the world to set your own business: you can incorporate a company in a day or so, and you don’t need any licence to operate (except in certain specialised areas such as healthcare, food selling or lawyering for example)

    I spend a fair bit of time in Tonga, where there is no welfare of any kind, and – outside the public sector – no employment law either. People respond by setting up little stalls which sell vegetables or fruit, or bbq lunches or coffee, or handcrafts…
    We have become a very lazy society…maybe we need to (re)learn something from the inhabitants of the third world…

    When I was a kid a blind man used to come around door to door to sharpen knives and scissors… it was a bit scary watching him working his electric sharpening machine by feel…but just about everyone in our state house block employed him…what happened to that?

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  47. Lance (2,662 comments) says:

    For those of my generation with constipation issues there is an easy solution, say those 4 magic little words to give you the shits;

    Cooks And Stewards Union

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  48. Pharmachick (235 comments) says:

    @Lance – yes absolutely!! But I think the boilies had it all over them. I have an immediate family member that worked as a boilermaker at Kinleith, and a union rep. Here’s a story… the Boilermakers always had a reciprocal agreement with the girls in the caf (I’m not sure if they were cooks & stewards or service workers union)… anyhow, that if the boilies went out, the cafeteria workers also went out automatically. That was designed to bring the mill to its knees. And it worked often. True story. My favorite memory of it all [sarc] is another immediate family member crying every Wednesday when she had to get grocery money from the extended family after they’d been out for months.

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  49. Southern Raider (1,831 comments) says:

    At the BNZ tower they were required to pour each floor in one go to meet the new earthquake designs. To complicate this it had to be done at night so it wouldn’t set to quick.

    The unions would only work to midnight with no exceptions. Quite often they would get 95% way through a pour. Midnight would strike and unions would call end to the days work. It would then take 3 months to remove all the concrete and reset the slab to be poured again all for what would have taken 30 extra minutes.

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  50. adze (2,126 comments) says:

    @DG:

    When I was a kid a blind man used to come around door to door to sharpen knives and scissors… it was a bit scary watching him working his electric sharpening machine by feel…but just about everyone in our state house block employed him…what happened to that?

    Was this in Christchurch? I remember such a man coming around to my family’s house in the late 70s, though this wasn’t a state house block but a cul-de-sac near Bishopdale…

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  51. thedavincimode (6,803 comments) says:

    bb

    He was nothing like Bradbury. Bradbury is a loser – a deadbeat – a nothing – a flea. Hasn’t achieved anything and never will.

    On the other hand, as loathsome as Morgan was, he did actually achieve something – not that I’m suggesting any of it was positive.

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  52. Psycho Milt (2,412 comments) says:

    But this is the way of the western world…it is happening everywhere…

    And 40 – 50 years ago a heavily unionised workforce was the way of the western world. The fact that everybody’s doing something isn’t an argument for doing it.

    We have become a very lazy society…maybe we need to (re)learn something from the inhabitants of the third world…

    Gosh yes, if only we could once again enjoy corruption, inefficiency, arbitrary exercise of authority, crushing poverty and preventable diseases like those lucky people in the third world, eh? The view that we’ve become a lazy society that could with hardening the fuck up is kind of funny on a thread which is full of people ranting about the terrible and appalling inconvenience they had to suffer through when unions were too strong. Oh, the humanity!

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  53. Psycho Milt (2,412 comments) says:

    The lefty hallucination that if the employment laws we have weren’t in place the first thing most if not all employers would do is bring out the whips and chains, is one of the two major factors that gums up the works in the economy.

    The hallucination is imagining that the humans making up NZ’s present-day employers are somehow the moral superiors of their forebears, or of employers in other countries.

    I worked for an American company in Kuwait. They cheerfully set a 48-hour minimum working week on the basis that Kuwaiti employment law permitted it, and took full advantage of the existing Kuwaiti racial heirarchies, so that they could pay their Indian staff US $100 a month while paying their supervisor (me) $5000 plus expenses. If you imagine NZ employers are the moral superiors of those guys, you’re dreaming.

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  54. Pharmachick (235 comments) says:

    Dear Milt,
    I’m not sure that quoting Middle East employment policies is especially relevant to NZ. Nor am I sure you should be advocating (which is what it sounds like) practices that are clearly abhorrent to any rational-thinking person.
    Conflict of interest statement: Up until the revolution of 2011, I worked every year for 2 weeks in Egypt on very good [economic] terms, but they also pushed me hard on [labour hours] terms.

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  55. wikiriwhis business (4,019 comments) says:

    “Unions a 19th Century institution in a 21st century world.”

    Now we have no unions and corporate fraud of $6b as released by IRD this year.

    A continuance of the Wine Box criminality from the National Party which incidentally wanted to completely ignore

    for the benefit of their corporates.

    Proven of course by W. Peters.

    Fascism is the state and corporates hand in hand – Benito Mussolini.

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  56. wikiriwhis business (4,019 comments) says:

    “On the other hand, as loathsome as Morgan was, he did actually achieve something – not that I’m suggesting any of it was positive.”

    Hmmm….. are we to understand G Morgan is socialist ?

    I cannot help thinking his name is not bandied around on the Standard on a regular basis.

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  57. wikiriwhis business (4,019 comments) says:

    “In the latter stages of the job the Boilermakers were paid $256.00 per hour to get it finished.”

    Can’t help thinkig there’s a tad of embellishment here lol

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  58. thedavincimode (6,803 comments) says:

    wiki

    There was no criminality uncovered by the winebox investigation.

    And when you say: “Proven of course by W. Peters”, you remind me of the most notable outcome of this Commisssion; namely that when W. Peters, having blustered over these documents for years, was actually asked to explain the transactions the subject of his ranting and blustering – he couldn’t.

    But if you want to talk about dodgy dealings, paper bags full of cash, helicopter rides that didn’t happen, meals that didn’t happen, acquaintances in the fishing and racing industries that didn’t exist, donations that weren’t received and “noes” that meant “yes”, why don’t you lead off …

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  59. big bruv (13,935 comments) says:

    davinci

    “He was nothing like Bradbury. Bradbury is a loser – a deadbeat – a nothing – a flea. Hasn’t achieved anything and never will.”

    Of course I agree with you on that score.

    My point being that whilst Bradbury is indeed a loser he longs to see himself in the spotlight. Remember that last town hall meeting (which achieved nothing) those who were on stage were provided with chairs, Bradbury decided to remain standing, right behind the speaker in a Mussolini like pose.

    Bradbury really is a complete and utter tosspot.

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  60. Akaroa (558 comments) says:

    Well, being a 1975 UK immigrant to this fair land – (and i quickly took out citizenship to demonstrate my commitment to NZ btw!) – I recall some of the UK Union activity that prompted me to take the emigration route.

    Early ‘Seventies – UK Miners Strike! It went on and on and on until the whole country’s electricity consumption was strictly rationed. This because the miners picketed the power stations and wouldn’t allow solid fuel trucks in. The way it went was that the UK was divided into large geographical areas and a series of rolling power cuts – area by area – were imposed daily. I remember putting our children top bed by candlelight and cooking on a primus stove.i

    I was in the RAF and on a course at the time up near Liverpool. Driving home to Lincolnshire on a Friday evening I crossed several of these rolling power cut areas areas, and it was surrealistic to either see ALL house, street and road lights suddenly extinguished at the pre-notified time, or to go from dark area to dark area with lights eventually springing alive again behind one.

    Memory falters, but I think that the UK Government’s fortitude in not giving in to the miners was the making of Maggie Thatcher and the final blow to miner’s leader Arthur Scargill – who then disappeared from public life never to be heard boasting and threatening ever again. (Not to mention the Miners Union backing the strike!)

    Incidentally, i had a brother-in-law whose family ran a bus company, and they made a fortune running strike breakers – (there were some) – into mines through the minehead picket lines. Bit of damage to the odd bus, but the balance sheet came out very well in the end!!

    Stirring days, eh?

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  61. Akaroa (558 comments) says:

    PS to the above. Wheildon’s – that was the name of the bus firm – also ran trucks, and they made a fortune bringing coal dug by non-strikers out of the mines through the picket lines. Bit of vehicle damage here and there of course inflicted by angry picketers, but EXTREMELY profitable nevertheless!

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  62. Slipster (177 comments) says:

    @Pharmachick, re: 90-days law.

    Sorry, I don’t agree that law primarily protects employers.
    Yes, there is the obvios element of that there, but the main
    beneficiaries of that law are employees who were only able
    to *become* employees thanks to that law, otherwise they
    would have remained unemployed and unemployable.

    In other words: this law made it easier (less risky) for a potential
    employer to take a gamble on a prospective employee. The net,
    the most benefit still came the employee’s way.

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  63. Pharmachick (235 comments) says:

    Hey Slipster,

    yes, that’s a very good interpretation. However, I stand by my statement that it “protects” the employer because he/she can still off-load underperforming and/or unsuitable hires within the 1st three months. So yes, the employers take a punt … but as for Cui Bono … ultimately it does give the worker a better chance, but the employer has the power in that situation, so the employer benefits, primarily. Note, my orig. post said “primarily”.

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  64. Psycho Milt (2,412 comments) says:

    I’m not sure that quoting Middle East employment policies is especially relevant to NZ.

    It was an American company’s employment policies. The Middle East part just meant they could get away with it. Do you imagine NZ employers to be somehow better people than Americans?

    Nor am I sure you should be advocating (which is what it sounds like) practices that are clearly abhorrent to any rational-thinking person.

    They were certainly abhorrent to me, but they weren’t abhorrent to this company, nor any of the other western companies taking advantage of them. There’s no reason to imagine NZ companies are in some sense more noble than that.

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  65. Pharmachick (235 comments) says:

    @Milt .. Touché. Yes, I agree.

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  66. slijmbal (1,236 comments) says:

    I See wiri brings up the “corporate fraud of $6b” again and again and again

    so again – just a reminder the tax evasion (the illegal stuff) in NZ is (very) crudely (over) estimated at about that figure and is predominantly

    CASH TRADE JOBS, CRIME & UNDER THE TABLE WAGES – but let’s call it corporate shall we as then its evil big companies.

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  67. eziryder (15 comments) says:

    Has anybody connected the dots, and understood that if weren’t for the disgraceful behaviour on the BNZ , Mangere bridge and others, the CTV building and others in Chch would have almost certainly been steel frame. They might have been rooted by the earthquake, but wouldn’t have fallen over. So cuddly old Con Devitt had blood on his hands.

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  68. David Garrett (7,318 comments) says:

    Milt: Of course the evil Americans took full advantage of Kuwait’s laws!! What else would a clown like you expect of the Satanic States?

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