Roads, grandma, and John Key
“However, the Government could not afford to give DHBs the $140 million required to enable rest homes to pay their staff more,”
In March of this year, rest home care workers went on strike throughout New Zealand, demanding an increase in their pay rate of $13.61 an hour.
That paltry sum is only 11 cents an hour above the minimum wage, which as Finance Minister said on TVNZ’s “Q+A“, on 6 November last year, was not liveable for any long period of time,
“GUYON: Okay, can we move backwards in people’s working lives from retirement to work and to wages? Mr English, is $13 an hour enough to live on?
BILL: People can live on that for a short time, and that’s why it’s important that they have a sense of opportunity. It’s like being on a benefit.
GUYON: What do you mean for a short time?
BILL: Well, a long time on the minimum wage is pretty damn tough, although our families get Working for Families and guaranteed family income, so families are in a reasonable position.” Source
If $13 an hour is ‘ pretty damn tough’ and ‘people can live on that for [only] a short time’ – then how much better is $13.61 an hour? Not by much, one would think.
But, as Dear Leader told the nation on 28 May,
“It’s one of those things we’d love to do if we had the cash. As the country moves back to surplus it’s one of the areas we can look at but I think most people would accept this isn’t the time we have lots of extra cash.
You could certainly change the proportion of where you spend money in health. We spend about $14.5 billion in the overall health sector.
What’s going to go to pay the increase in this area? If you said all of the increase is going to go into this area, that would be roughly $600m over the forecast period which is four years… So that would have left us $1bn for other things.
“We put the money into cancer care and nursing and various other things. On balance, we think we got that about right.”
“On balance”, I think National is about as incompetant as it was in the 1990s, and as it was under Rob Muldoon.
To make sure that the peasantry (ie, us) got the message, he shifted blame on to Labour by insisting, that the former Labour government “had a lot more cash floating around and didn’t meet the bill“.
I wonder how many times he’s going to blame Labour?
I thought National was BIG on people taking responsibility?
But just when the public get used to the idea that paying hundreds of heroic careworkers in resthomes – who look after our grandmas, grandpas, the sick, and the infirm – a measely $13.61 is the best we can afford, we discover that National does have access to pots of cash (our cash, by the way).
And boy, do they know how to spend it like it’s going out of fashion by 2014,
A total of $336 million spent on consultants, and various “fees” for selling our own state assets to “mums and dads” (aka, corporate investors). Of that, $216 million has already been spent on “consultants” – and that’s without one metre of tarseal being laid.
And yet, our smiling and waving Dear Leader has the cheek to say that we can’t pay resthome careworkers any more money? He insists that, “it’s one of those things we’d love to do if we had the cash. As the country moves back to surplus it’s one of the areas we can look at but I think most people would accept this isn’t the time we have lots of extra cash.”
When I found and collated these three media stories, my jaw dropped.
I have long since given up trying to understand John Key’s “moral compass” (if he actually has one).
But I wonder what those 1,058,636 New Zealanders who voted for this wretched Party must be feeling when they read this sort of thing? Does it even register with those 1,058,636, I wonder?!
But there is a delicious irony that will eventually fall upon most of those 1,058,636. For they too, are growing older…
And eventually, they will end up in resthomes, being cared for by low-paid, exploited, careworkers.
I wonder if those careworkers, by then, will still be the conscientious, dedicated, saints that Human Rights Commissioner, Dr Judy McGregor said of them,
“The complexity of the job was actually a surprise for me. It’s quite physical work, and it’s emotionally draining because you are obliged to give of yourself to other people.
Saint-like women do it every day so that older New Zealanders can have a quality of life.”
Will Resthome careworkers still be Saint-like in their care for us?
Or will they have had a gutsful by then, and not give a damn? If we continue to pay them $13.61 an hour (or a future-equivalent) – is that the value of service we’ll end up receiving?
If so, I hope those exploited, burnt-out, angry workers will vent their frustrations on a specific group of 1,058,636 New Zealanders. After all, they will have paid for their care. All $13.61 of it.
As for the rest of us – those who understand the utter futility of electing John Key into power – I hope that National’s apalling waste of our valuable tax-dollars will motivate you all for the next election.
I know that most readers who visit this blog are fair minded, decent, people. I know you will be voting to get rid of this rotten, morally-corrupt, government in 2014 (if not earlier).
But that’s not enough. Simply voting is insufficient.
If, after reading this (and similar examples of National’s wretched policies) you are angry and want to get rid of John Key – then at the next election, find one other adult who did not vote last year and encourage that person to walk to the nearest polling booth with you to cast his/her vote.
About a million people did not vote last year. We need to find them and explain to them why their vote is crucial. The future of this country lies in their hands.
Our most powerful Weapon of Mass Democracy – our vote.
It is our vote that makes us powerful.
Let’s do it.
= fs =
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For a better New Zealand…
~ Cleaner rivers
~ No deep-sea oil drilling
~ Less on Roads - more on Rail
~ Minimum wage @ $15 p/hr
~ Marriage equality
~ Strong, effective Unions
~ No secret free-trade deals
~ Breakfast/lunches in our schools
~ Introducing Civics into our school curriculum
~ Cut back on the liquor industry
~ A fairer, progressive tax system
~ Fully funded, free healthcare
~ Ditto for education, including Tertiary
~ Fund Pharmac for Pompe's Disease medication & other 'orphan' drugs
~ No state asset sales!
~ Rebuild public TV broadcasting!
~ Keeping farms in local ownership
~ Reduce poverty, like we reduced the toll for road-fatalities
~ Jobs, Jobs, Jobs!
~ Being nice to each other
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