Now the Unions are Quashing Political Freedoms

1984_apple1.jpgStanding as a list MP candidate for the ACT Party seems rather like an exercise in futility, but does anyone else find it hugely ironic that New Zealand’s most powerful union has reportedly suspended an employee for political activity?

OK, the gentleman in question may have been a bit naive in how he went about it. Records show that he did raise the possibility of his parliamentary candidacy with the union, but there seems to be some confusion over whether or not he had received their permission. But irrespective of this, since when can employers dictate what political beliefs their employees may hold? The union objected to the behaviour simply because it did not align with their own ideology. If the guy had been standing for the Labour Party or Greens, you can guarantee nobody in the union management would have been the least bit concerned.

I have a huge amount of respect for Andrew Little and what he has achieved with EPMU by dragging it out of the dark ages and making it relevant again. I went to school with him way back when. He’s a very smart guy, so I’m surprised he dropped the ball on this one by playing into the hands of his critics. Unions have an important role in civil society but it is not their role to restrict political freedoms.

Anyhoo…at least the EPMU story is a welcome diversion from the tedium surrounding the Winston show. The scary part about Slick Winnie is that his geriatric fanbase demographic grows bigger every year. Despite his many indiscretions, he is likely to remain a thorn in the side of future governments for some time yet. The guy gets way too much airtime and yet contributes very little of real value. Consequently, in this election year, the rabid media are neglecting to challenge politicians on the REAL issues such as crime, education, health and economic growth.


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2 thoughts on “Now the Unions are Quashing Political Freedoms

  1. There is little to indicate that the fellow in question was terminated because of differences in ideology. How can one run as a political candidate, requiring considerable time for campaigning and hold down a full time job with a union or any employer for that matter? I’m confident they are not dictating his beliefs as simply saying if you wish to stand for parliamtent you cannot do work for us also.

    I work for a private company offshore which has no obvious political agendas but my employment contract specifically excludes me working or campaigning within any political realm during my employment period just as it excludes me from working for another company at the same time. My employer cannot, of course, instruct me what to think politically, or how to vote. Maybe I am just as naive as you claim Andrew is.

    I am disturbed that your own article is about as emotive and objective as exposition I might expect to read from any of NZ’s second-rate print media. “New Zealands most powerful union” is somewhat analogous with saying “Wanganui’s most powerful Morris 1000” – the early 70’s are a very distant memory. You are correct in as much as unions do serve a critical function in a civlised society much as fats are requisite in the human body – distasteful yet necessary.

    I also concur with your summation of Mr. Peters. NZ’s worst grandstander and waste of political space and resources. Alas, in a genuine proportionaly represented democracy we are obliged to put up with the odd charlatan or necromancer. At least with Peters we can see the wires…

  2. If EPMU isn’t “New Zealand’s most powerful union” perhaps you could tell us which one is?

    Just to clarify, the naivety I referred to was that of Shawn Tan the wannabe politician. Naive in two respects. Firstly that he should believe that the union would ever countenance his candidacy and secondly in the manner in which he went about the process.

    I think I made it clear that Andrew is not the naive one here. But, he could have turned this situation around by demonstrating through its actions that the union actually takes seriously the upholding of political freedoms, irrespective of their flavour.

    But of course Little is quite likely to be running as a parliamentary candidate himself one day. No doubt he will resign immediately upon announcing his Labour Party candidacy.

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