New Zealand and Australian perspectives


Both Australia and New Zealand escaped lightly from the 2008 global financial crisis and recession. Australia avoided a recession from 2008 onwards, on the one hand due to the minerals and aggregates boom (exported mainly to China) and on the other hand as a consequence of Keynesian policies pursued both in Australia and China. Additionally, due to Australian financial laws the domestic banks were not overly exposed as overseas bank (especially European and North American banks) were.

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Workers must be paid for work related activities

On May 11th, 2018, the Employment Relations Court dropped a major bombshell on the bosses by ordering Smiths City, a major New Zealand furniture and appliance store, to pay workers for their attendance of daily meetings held before the stores opened.  According to Chief Judge Christina Inglis: "The expectation to attend, and pressure placed on staff to do so, was direct and forceful. The practical reality for sales staff was that to satisfy this expectation, and so as not to be seen as poor performers, they had to attend."

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General election 2017: New Zealand First hold balance of power

The 2017 general election resulted in a hung parliament on 23 September election night. Under MMP this is not a surprising result. Now that the special votes have been counted the National Party, under proportionality, lost two list seats awarded to them on election night with Labour and the Greens picking up one list seat each. The final result puts National on 56 seats, Labour on 46 seats, New Zealand First on nine seats, Greens on eight seats and ACT on one seat. The formation of a fourth term National-led government or a Labour / Green government requires an agreement with New Zealand First to get past 61 seats to form a majority government. New Zealand First holds the balance of power.

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Growing militancy amoungst workers: nurses, bus drivers and teachers

July and August 2018 saw three major strikes take place in New Zealand and shows the growing militancy amoungst workers

General Election 2017: Labour's meteoric rise

It is said that a week is a long time in politics. At a time when it seemed as if the National Party was going to sleepwalk to another victory at the polls. Andrew Little resigned as Labour Party leader in favour of Jacinda Ardern on August 1st, 2017, in an act initially seen as an act of political suicide. Then, in mid July, the Green Party performed an act of political suicide that has all but killed any prospect of them potentially staying in Parliament. On July 27th the opinion polls had the Greens polling at 15%, which was their highest poll rating in many years. Less than three weeks later the Greens had slumped to a mere 4.3%.

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