Friday, August 27, 2010

Ideological bullshit

OK, so we know that National's employment relations and sick leave policies are ideological bullshit, aimed at restoring workplace relations to their "proper" state of one between "masters" and "servants". But I expected them to have at least been informed by research and advice from the relevant Ministry. The Herald this morning reports that this was not the case - the universal "fire at will" provision was imposed by the ACT party against the recommendation of the Minister of Labour (who only wanted it extended to businesses with 50 employees), while the changes allowing employers to demand a medical certificate on unreasonable grounds were made without any advice at all.

Regardless of the merits of these changes - and I think they are bad - this is not a good way to make policy. It is one thing to look at the advice on costs, benefits, and effects, and choose to do something anyway; it is quite another to just not ask for such advice at all. The first means that the Ministers are at least making an informed decision. The latter is religious thinking. Wilkinson might just as well have pulled her sick leave changes out of her arse for all the connection with rational policymaking. Now, as an elected official, that's her right - but we should have nothing but contempt for policymakers who treat their jobs (and by extension, us) with such contempt.