Māori Land Court staff “work to rule” as pay dispute drags on

in the news

More than 120 Māori Land Court (MLC) staff across New Zealand will “work to rule” as the fair pay and across-the-board pay system dispute between the Public Service Association (PSA) and the Ministry of Justice (MoJ) heads to mediation today.

The work to rule – a form of industrial action where staff work to their exact rules and hours, reducing output and efficiency – comes after a nationwide strike at MoJ in September and a lightning strike in October.

MoJ chief operating officer Carl Crafar labelled that particular strike “unlawful”, but the Employment Court in Auckland found otherwise ruling the strike legal and dismissing MoJ’s application to prevent further lightning strikes.

“I don’t feel Te Reo Court Reporters have been focused on much,” wrote an anonymous MLC staffer in a statement released to māui street.  

“I feel our workload is very different to our mainstream Court Reporters/transcribers. A usual Notes of Evidence is just based on the evidence the witnesses give in Court, [and] anything outside of that is a separate document or has a heading to distinguish that event in court. [But] our transcripts contain everything - openings, closings, briefs of evidence/affidavits are transcribed into the documents transcribing both Māori and English languages”.  

MLC staff are calling for better pay to reflect their larger workload and longer hours.

In October the case load at the Court was up almost 20 percent on the previous month and in the year to October 2018 cases on hand increased 14 percent, putting further strain on an already strained workforce.

“Our hearings can run from 8.30am to 5.30pm or later as the hearings are not held in an actual courtroom but an offsite venue,” the MLC staffer added.

The PSA is calling for an increase in base salary no lower than 2 percent.

But Crafar said MoJ is offering a 3 percent increase this year and a three percent increase the next.

“The Ministry has also offered an additional $750 one-off payment to PSA members for 2018,” he told Stuff.

“The PSA initially presented a pay claim which added up to more than 13 per cent during this period, more than double the Ministry's budget.”

The impasse at MLC tops off a rough year for Māori workers. In August dozens of staff at Māori Television walked off the job, last week Māori nurses in Te Tairāwhiti walked off the job, and last weekend the seven day lockout at Go Bus, the iwi-owned transport company, finally came to an end.

The Waitangi Tribunal, whose judges have spoken out about overwork and burnout after more than a decade without a funding boost, is also hearing evidence in the Mana Wahine claim concerning pay equity for Māori women.

The work to rule action is scheduled to run until December 7.


in the house

The New Zealand Political Studies Association (NZPSA) is holding its Civics and Citizenship conference in Parliament’s grand hall today. The opening panel will discuss Te Tiriti education with Associate Professor Maria Bargh, Professor Angus McFarlane, Te Tai Tonga MP and Māori Affairs Select Committee Chair Rino Tirikatane, and Gisborne Girls’ High School students Puna Whakaata Maniapoto-Love and Reipua Puketapu-Watson. The NZPSA, in a wide-ranging publication aimed at politicians and policy-makers, is recommending Te Tiriti education at all levels of the curriculum. The NZPSA is also recommending compulsory New Zealand history at all levels of the curriculum, adding academic support to the the student and teacher-led movement for New Zealand history teaching.  

The chair of National Māori Authority (NMA) Matthew Tukaki is criticising Minister of Health David Clark for appointing a 21-person leadership group to advise the government on its response to the Mental Health and Addictions Inquiry. Tukaki says appointing the group, made up primarily of DHB chiefs, is like appointing a “family of foxes in the hen house and sit there and watch as they devour the whole thing”. DHBs, according to Tukaki and the NMA, are in part responsible for mental health and addiction failures. NMA are now withdrawing their support and calling for greater Māori involvement in the Inquiry and the government’s response.    


in the media

  • Māori Television (MTS) CEO Keith Ikin has resigned after only a year in the job. Ikin’s resignation comes after news and current affairs chief Maramena Roderick left the job earlier this year. MTS is suffering under a funding squeeze and caving viewership.

  • Shane Jones is labelling opponents of the Ngāpuhi Treaty settlement “hapū zealots”. Jonesy’s intervention comes as hapū support appears to be dwindling with some Ngāpuhi members telling māui street that recently Ngāti Korokoro, Te Pouka, Ngāti Wharara, and Ngāti Pakau have all opposed the settlement model. Tūhono’s facilitators and the Crown’s technical advisors are also being harshly criticised for the way they have conducted themselves at hui.

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