Barry Soper: Steven Joyce should know better

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Steven Joyce is pointing the finger at Labour for enacting the Holidays Act way back in 2003. Photo / Warren Buckland
Steven Joyce is pointing the finger at Labour for enacting the Holidays Act way back in 2003. Photo / Warren Buckland

Surely it must have had something to do with it being on the eve of April Fools Day because the Minister of Catastrophes Steven Joyce was certainly taking us for one.

This multi-millionaire former employer should know better but then he is the National Party's brains trust when it comes to the strategy used in winning elections. On that front he hasn't done too badly but when you are in your third term, trying to win a fourth, there is surely a statute of limitations when it comes to blaming the other lot for botch ups when they were in Government.

Joyce is pointing the finger at Labour for enacting the Holidays Act way back in 2003, blaming it for short changing thousands of public servants over the years because of the complexity of the Act.

Read more:
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The cops have already coughed up thirty million bucks because their pay packets haven't been as fat as they should have been. So far they've uncovered around 24 thousand bureaucrats who are owed money and there are expected to be more.

So is Labour to blame? Is the man who's been a Cabinet Minister for his entire political career, by-passing his back bench apprenticeship, justified in laying the blame at Labour's door?

The answer is no. The Act was revisited by National in 2010 but the so called complexity wasn't clarified which beggars the question: Why?

Well the Minister's explanation is about as deep as a puddle, and a particularly shallow one at that.

Joyce says as soon as people say the Holidays Act should be changed, "union representatives and a number of others say don't change it because we can't change anybody's entitlements at all."

Yeah well, accept that and you'll accept that unions don't want their members to get their just pay desserts, and of course National's the last party to want to get on the wrong side of the cloth caps.

The rules under the act seem pretty straight forward. Holiday pay's either calculated on the weekly pay at the time you're about to take your break or on the average pay you've received over previous year. The bosses have to pay whatever gives the worker the most money.

Trouble is some payroll computers calculate holiday pay on what's in the letter of the worker's contract, rather than what they've actually been earning.

But before you make an April fool of yourself and rush off to your paymaster demanding squillions, the biggest single payout yet is under two grand, just enough for a modest holiday.

Debate on this article is now closed.

- Newstalk ZB

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