Tuesday, January 07, 2020

Labour opposes leisure

Correction: Finland's government has not in fact proposed a 4-day week, and its not even on their policy radar. OTOH, the point about Labour's response to the idea still stands.

Finland's new Prime Minister has made headlines by pushing for a 4-day week. So what does new Zealand's "centre-left" government think? Nope. They'd rather people kept working themselves into misery and death:

The Government does not plan to follow Finland's lead to encourage businesses to offer staff a four-day week.


Employment Minister Willie Jackson said it was not part of the Government's work programme.

"Instead we are focussed on ensuring we build a strong economy that all New Zealanders can participate in, through lifting the minimum wage to working with employers on projects such as our infrastructure investments and ensuring we are supporting the upskilling of our workforce through initiatives like Mana in Mahi."

You can talk about the productivity benefits, but fundamentally shorter working weeks are about distributing the benefits of growth to all as time: the one thing no-one is getting any more of. That's what the 40-hour week was about, and what subsequent struggles have been about. But instead of that, our government would rather those benefits took the form of greater profits to business owners. Which tells you whose side they're really on.