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Archive for 2 January 2012

Christmas – would you like fries with that?

2 January 2012 3 comments

This story in the Dominion Post caught my attention and caused me some disquiet,

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First of all, I disagree with Mr Leota’s assertion that McDonald’s is “cheap, good food”.  Fast foods such as McDonalds, Burger King, etc, are generally high in salt, fat, and sugars, and contribute to our growing obesity problem. Our public health system then has to pay to attend to obesity related diseases such as diabetes, heart disease, stroke, etc.

However, be that as it may, the main issue of concern for me is that Christmas Day is probably  the last remaining day of the year when non-essential businesses/services close down so that families and friends can spend uninterrupted time together.

It is one day out of 365/366 when we can take a break from work and business, and just plain relax.

There are those individuals (and organisations such as the Business Roundtable and ACT) that insist that it is an individual’s right to choose when they frequent an establishment to make a transaction. However, for this to happen,

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This has to happen,

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Mr Leota and his family probably enjoyed good, quality, family-time together. But for the Leotas to be able to go to their local McDonald’s and  purchase their meal on Christmas Day – probably a dozen or so staff members had to give up their family time and sacrifice their day off.

Those individuals and organisations that insist that it is an individual’s right to choose to work  on public holidays, as a matter of  “choice”, to earn more money, are disengenuous.

There is no such “choice”.

Workers in such industries as fast food are usually hired on a part time/casual basis. The hours allocated to them to work can range from 2 hours, up to 40 hours. It is usually at the discretion of the Branch Manager. Terms of employment can also often include working public holidays, “or as required”.

If a staff member declines to work on a particular day (such as Christmas), the Manager can easily reduce that staff member’s weekly hours until they are working only the bare minimum. At this point the worker’s pay-packet is so greatly reduced as to make it untenable for their continued employment.

That is the power-relationship between a  fast-food employee (typically a young person) and his/her manager.

They have no choice. (Except to find a new job.)

That is why I find the Leota family’s outting to McDonald so off-putting. They may not have considered that for them to exercise their right to eat at McDonalds on Christmas Day – other people gave up their Christmas Day and their chance to be with their families.

We do have public holidays in New Zealand.  However, our society has changed considerably in the last thirty to forty years and recreational activities now includes shopping. And unfortunately, for people to indulge their urge for “recreational shopping” (or “retail therapy” as we jokingly refer to it)  on public holidays –  others have to work on those same public holidays.

Of course, we could all work on public holidays and make it totally equal.

But then that would mean the end of public holidays.

I am reminded of gardening centres around the country that break the law every Easter by pre-meditated flouting of the Holidays Act.  They break the law and open on days they should be closed.

Gardening centres open to trade when other businesses respect the law and remain closed. They rely on making profits knowing that they are open when other retailers are closed. (Their fine is a laughable $1,000 for opening illegally.)

If, of course, all shops and businesses were open over Easter, the Gardening Centres would lose their advantage and for shoppers it would simply be another calendar day of the year.

Who sez that breaking the law doesn’t pay?

Of course, we could simply do away with the Holidays Act altogether and all businesses, government departments, local body offices,  and retailers could be open 365/366 days of the year.

But that would mean that Mr and Mrs Leota would have been working on Christmas Day.

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Previous blogpost

You’ll have a free market – even if it KILLS you!

Additional

NZ Herald: Greasy school tuckshop food on way out

Department of Labour: Payment for working on a public holiday

Department of Labour: Transferring a public holiday

Department of Labour:  Changes to the Holidays Act and the Employment Relations Act

Related

Tasty foods linked to addiction

Tumeke blog:  Ronald McDonald becomes guest editor at the NZ Herald

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$411,510 buys you a very expensive clown…

2 January 2012 1 comment

 

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When ‘Bomber’ Bradbury got banned from Radio NZ, it was because he was supposedly “ranting”.

$411,510 per annum gets you another style of  rant, but with a bit of the “class-clown” thrown in for good measure. I challenge anyone to watch the above clip, and not feel disgusted.

Obviously there is no grinding poverty, high unemployment, alcohol abuse, and other critical problems facing New Zealand anymore.

This, folks,  is  our Prime Minister.

Weep if you must. It would be a normal reaction.

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Acknowledgement

Thank you to Dalene for bringing this to my attention.

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And now a word from the racist Right…

2 January 2012 2 comments

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Something that one of my readers found on Don Brash’s “Facebook” page,

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When I read that, my first reaction was; “more-of-the-same” from the racist right wing nutjobs that unfortunately live in every community, and every country (and probably every inhabited planet throughout the Universe).

My second reaction was that whoever wrote it is not very bright and is either exagerating for effect – or simply trolling for pleasure. (Racists do that – simple things for simple minds, n’all that.)

It also reminded me of John Ansell’s work for ACT, with the Iwi-Kiwi billboards and the more recent “Fed up with pandering to Maori radicals?” advert that ran in some daily metrolitan newspapers (but not others, which ethically refused to run the contentious them).

Ansell quit ACT in July when even the party hierarchy found his racist ranting too much to stomach.

That so-called “email” quoted by Brash on his FB page sounds suspiciously like Ansell’s style; over-the-top; irrational; and bitter/twisted.

The “email” doesn’t even make sense,

Yet my children cannot walk …to school without being abused for simply being white…”

Where does he live – Kabul?

“…we cannot draw the same assistance as our fellow dark-skinned citizens…”

Unfortunately, the un-named “author”  of that hate-mail doesn’t specify precisely what “assistance” he is referring to.

“…we are heckled by the roaming mobs of Maori when out and about…”

Wow! Break out the armoury! It’s World War III in some un-named part of the country!

Though one wonders why the author simply didn’t call the police to report these mythical mobs?!

“…and I just have to accept this treament in my own country …”

Ummm, really,  call the Police?

“…I’ve had an absolute gutsful, and simply cannot take this anymore. I have gained employment in Australia and will be taking my entire family there in January 2012.”

Hmmm, have fun, Mystery Emailer. There’s a Welcoming Committee for you.

The surprise is not that raving right wing wierdos exist – but that someone as supposedly intelligent, articulate,  and well-educated as Don Brash would publish such drivel on his own Facebook page. No wonder ACT couldn’t move fast enough to send this “odd fellow” packing.

Bizarre stuff.

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Additional

Act ad man quits after blasting ‘apartheid’

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