Jamie Strange (Labour) Question 1 Inequality often contributes to family violence. Labour has a range of policies to reduce inequality in our society and act to eliminate violence against women and children, focusing on prevention, support services and justice.
Labour will adopt a collaborative, resourced, long-term New Zealand action plan to eliminate violence against women and children in consultation with other parties and the sector.
We will provide $60 million over four years for family and sexual violence to support frontline services, primary prevention and education and will increase support for transitional housing. Labour will also reform the justice system to provide real justice to survivors while protecting the right to be innocent. We will also review the operation of protection orders and review prosecution guidelines to ensure offenders are appropriately arrested and charged. Question 2 Labour is committed to good jobs, decent work conditions and fair wages. Workers should have a voice through collective bargaining and independent trade unions and need a strong platform of basic standards, including a decent minimum wage, the right to negotiate collectively, health and safety provisions, adequate holidays, rest breaks and redundancy provisions.
We will increase the minimum wage by $2 an hour in our first year, to $15 an hour in our first 100 days in government and to $16.25 an hour in early 2015. If economic conditions allow, we will set a target of returning the minimum wage to two-thirds of the average wage by the end of our second term.
Labour will also ensure government bodies contract only with businesses that are good employers. We will also hold a commission of inquiry into wages and collective bargaining, review health and safety laws, and abolish secondary tax.
Will your party tackle the issue of wages and working hours in areas of the primary industry sector? Some employees work a 10-12 hour day, have little time off and when their contracted salaries stack up against the hours worked, they work for under the minimum wage. Would your party move to regulate and police these industries in terms of pay, working hours and holidays? Louise Upston (National) Question 1 National is focused on preventing crime and reducing its impact by improving the responsiveness of the justice system for victims. We brought in tougher sentencing and are providing more services, support and protection to victims.
We have the lowest crime rate in 35 years, but sadly, violent crime is not reducing as quickly. About half of all homicides in New Zealand result from family violence. This is unacceptable so we are introducing a crossgovernment package to address family violence. We’ll trial GPS technology to keep victims safer, test an intensive case management service for victims at high risk of serious harm or death, and explore the possibility of a conviction disclosure scheme.
We’re also working to develop a comprehensive, long-term approach to break the cycle of family violence through focusing on changing attitudes and behaviour and using early interventions for drug and alcohol addiction. Question 2 National is supporting people into work with a balanced minimum wage that increases yearon-year, the introduction of the 90-day trial scheme, and the starting-out wage to support young people into work.
National believes employees and employers should be able to agree on flexible work practices to suit both parties. Our proposed changes to the Employment Relations Act are aimed at improving fairness, flexibility and choice in the labour market.
National has raised the minimum wage every year we’ve been in office. It is 50 per cent of the average hourly rate, the highest ratio in the OECD. We believe setting the minimum wage represents a careful balance between protecting low-paid workers and ensuring jobs are not lost. If companies can pay more, we encourage them to do so. But to drastically increase the minimum wage would see jobs lost and companies go under.