Value for tax $s isn’t partisan


The Taxpayers’ Union is encouraging people to celebrate Labour Day by joining them:

 The Union’s Executive Director, Jordan Williams, says, “With the events of the last seven days seeing the Opposition distracted, and the Government using the opportunity to rule out tax relief for New Zealand workers, external pressure groups fighting to hold the Government to account are as important as ever.”

We are using this important day to step-up our efforts fighting for Lower Taxes, Less Waste, and More Transparency.”

Tax is by far the largest cost imposed on New Zealand workers and their families. Every dollar wasted by politicians and bureaucrats is one less for the hard working taxpayer who earned it.”

The Taxpayers’ Union relies on support by its members and subscribed supporters to fund its work. Becoming a supporter is free, with membership from as little as $5 at

The NZTU is often described in the media as right wing it’s not, and working for lower taxes, less waste and more transparency is not politically partisan.

I don’t buy into the line that parties on the right of the political spectrum don’t care about the poor but parties on the left purport to champion them.

The poor have most to gain from lower taxes and less wasteful, more transparent governments.

Wealthy people don’t like higher taxes but they don’t have to worry about every dollar the way poor people do and every dollar taken in tax and wasted by government misspending is a dollar they need more.

The NZTU was launched when National was in power and held it to account. It is continuing to hold this government to account and that brings benefits to us all.

I joined the NZTU when it was launched and continue to support it as the only organisation that seeks to ensure better value for taxpayers’ money.

Could Labour Day be NZ Day?


Labour Day is to celebrate workers’ rights, the eight-hour working day and unions, isn’t it?

Had I been asked about the day’s origins, that’s what I’d have answered but Rodney Hide points out the generally accepted explanation of Labour Day’s origins is built on a myth:

Tomorrow is Labour Day. Once again we will endure the annual claptrap that unions are great and won for us the eight-hour day. Without unions we would be working 24/7. It’s nonsense.

The Labour Day bunk dates from the start of European settlement. Carpenter Samuel Parnell arrived at what we now call Petone aboard the Duke of Roxburgh.

The Duke was just the third migrant ship to Wellington. Parnell was newly married, 30 years old and had travelled from London in search of a better life.

He found it.

On-board was shipping agent George Hunter, who asked Parnell to build him a store. Parnell agreed but on the condition that he work only eight hours a day. Hunter wasn’t happy. Eight-hour days weren’t the custom in London, but he had little choice: there were only three carpenters in Wellington.

Hence was born the eight-hour day. The practice caught on. For more than 100 years we have celebrated the eight-hour day as a victory for trade unionism. We know it as Labour Day which, on the fourth Monday of every October, is a public holiday.

We hear every year of the union movement’s long, hard struggle. It wasn’t easy winning the eight-hour day, we are repetitively told.

Without unions, greedy employers would have us working every hour, every day.

It’s a myth. The so-called victory had nothing to do with unions. It was simple supply and demand. The demand for skilled labour was high in the new and growing settlement. The supply was low.

Parnell could have negotiated more pay. But he chose fewer hours. That was his choice. That was the free market.

Every Labour Day we should be remembering how the eight-hour day was “won”: it was by two men negotiating, no third party involved. There were no unions. There was no labour legislation.

The good-faith bargain was sealed with a simple handshake. And the two men prospered. Parnell soon had enough to buy land in Karori and establish himself as a farmer. Hunter proved a successful merchant and was Wellington’s first Mayor. Auckland’s Parnell is named after Samuel.

Both men did well because they were free to negotiate what was best. They weren’t locked into antiquated work practices.

It was the free market that delivered. Parnell was fortunate he could bargain on his own behalf. That’s what delivered the eight-hour day. . . .

Unions have played a part in working for, and gaining, workers’ rights and they still have a role to play.

But neither workers nor employers are well-served by the old-fashioned confrontational employment relations and rigid rules we had to endure in the past.

Flexible rules which give workers necessary protections and choice while also making it easier for businesses to employ people are better for business and their staff.

Every Waitangi Day there are calls for it to be renamed New Zealand Day or for us to have another holiday to celebrate as New Zealand Day.

Given the accepted story about Labour Day is a myth, it could be time to change the name, let it become New Zealand Day and provide the opportunity to celebrate the nation.

Labour Day is . . .


. . . just another day off for most people or an opportunity to appreciate the eight-hour working day?

Tuesday’s answers


Monday’s questions were:

1. What does Labour Day commemorate?

2. Who was the London-born, Petone carpenter credited with what Labour Day commemorates?

3. Who said: “ Work spares us from three evils: boredom, vice and need“?

4. Labour Weekend is traditionally when vegetable gardens are planted – did you do that and if so what did you plant?

5. What was your job, how old were you when you started it and can you remember how much it paid? 

Points for answers:

Deborah, Ray, JCand Adam get an electronic bouquet each for perfect scores.

Paul, PDM and David get a bonus posey for four right.

And you all get thanks for interesting contributions on the work front.

Answers follow the break:

Read the rest of this entry »

Monday’s quiz


1. What does Labour Day commemorate?

2. Who was the London-born, Petone carpenter credited with what Labour Day commemorates?

3. Who said: “ Work spares us from three evils: boredom, vice and need“?

4. Labour Weekend is traditionally when vegetable gardens are planted – did you do that and if so what did you plant?

5. What was your job, how old were you when you started it and can you remember how much it paid?

October 28 in history


On October 28:

1510 Francis Borgia, Spanish duke and Jesuit priest was born.

Saint Francis Borgia. He is depicted performing an exorcism in this painting by Francisco Goya.

1538 The first university n the New World, the Universidad Santo Tomás de Aquino in the Dominican Republic, was established.

1664 The Duke of York and Albany’s Maritime Regiment of Foot, later to be known as the Royal Marines, was established.


1697 Canaletto, Italian artist, was born.

1846 Georges Auguste Escoffier, French chef, was born.

1848 The first railway in Spain – between Barcelona and Mataró – wass opened

1886 President Grover Cleveland dedicated the Statue of Liberty.

The Statue of Liberty in New York Harbor

1890 New Zealand’s first Labour Day celebrations took place.

1893 Tchaikovsky’s Symphony No. 6 in B Minor, Pathétique, received its premiere performance in St. Petersburg.

Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky by Nikolay Kuznetsov, 1893
1903 Evelyn Waugh, English writer, was born.
1914 Jonas Salk, American biologist and physician, was born.
1918 Czechoslovakia was granted independence from Austria-Hungary.
Flag Coat of arms

1927 Dame Cleo Laine, English singer. was born.

1929 Joan Plowright, English actress was born.

1941 Hank Marvin,lead guitarist for The SHadows, was born.

1942 The Alaska Highway (Alcan Highway) was completed through Canada to Fairbanks, Alaska.

1946 Australian politician, former leader of the Liberal Party, John Hewson, was born.

1948 – Swiss chemist Paul Müller was awarded the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine for his discovery of the insecticidal properties of DDT.

1954 The modern Kingdom of the Netherlands was re-founded as a federal monarchy.

1955 Bill Gates, American software executive, was born.

1960 Landon Curt Noll, Astronomer, Cryptographer and Mathematician: youngest to hold the world record for the largest known prime 3 times, was born.


1965 Nostra Aetate, the “Declaration on the Relation of the Church with Non-Christian Religions” of the Second Vatican Council, is promulgated by Pope Paul VI; it absolves the Jews of the alleged killing of Jesus, reversing Innocent III’s 760 year-old declaration.

1967 Julia Roberts, American actress, was born.

1970 Gary Gabelich set a land speed record in a rocket-powered automobile called the Blue Flame, fueled with natural gas.

1970 Britain launched its first (and so far, only) satellite, Prospero, into low Earth orbit atop a Black Arrow carrier rocket.

Prospero X-3 model.jpg

1982 Spanish Socialist Workers’ Party (PSOE) won elections, leading to first Socialist government in Spain after death of Franco.  Felipe Gonzalez became Prime Minister-elect.

2007 Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner became the first woman elected President of Argentina.

Sourced from NZ History Online and Wikipedia.

Monday’s Quiz


1. Who wrote Requiem for a Wren?

2. Who said “Always for give your enemies, nothing annoys them so much”?

3. What is Zaire now called?

4.When were New Zealand’s first Labour Day celebrations held?

5. Which was New Zealand’s first National Park?

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