Brett Porter : Wage subsidy debate

Thursday September 03, 2020 Published in Letters to the Editor

After reading Ruth Mave Tangiiau’s opinion piece on Monday and latterly Jonathan Milne’s editorial comment on Ruth’s opinions, I’m compelled not to let her get away with this nonsense without challenge. 

This piece identifies expatriate people from our community that she deems unworthy of receiving our government’s wage subsidy on the basis of ... what?

Ruth suggests that these people should not be here because they have been taking valuable work away from locals and somehow they no longer belong here because times have gotten Covid tough.

She somehow misses or ignores the point that these people must have obtained a permit to stay and to work, that they will be contracted to an employer, that they pay tax and therefore they are deserving of all other government regulated entitlements.

Whilst Jonathan Milne in his piece admits that he didn’t always agree with Ruth’s opinions he eventually, “after tea and scones” felt compelled to allow these crackpot views to be freely expressed without rein, and one must learn to “listen with humility”.

Cook Islands people are blessed with a New Zealand citizenship.

With this, Ruth should know that we get to choose what work and vocation we want to undertake here or in any other part of the Commonwealth.

That this woman advocates that others should be sent away so that “locals” can fill their space is third world nonsense.

Jonathan Milne knows that as New Zealanders we aspire to the same open and responsible set of journalistic standards that will recognise what is “crackpot” and what is unsuitable for publication in our national newspaper.

The Ruth Mave Tangiiau’s opinions should be relegated to a social media platform, kept there and left out of our newspaper.

We deserve better.

Brett Porter 

Ruth Mave replies

Monday’s column reflected thoughts recently voiced in the paper by Danny Mataroa and Liana Scott. Jonathan was very strict on requesting proof of statistics and content before printing and from the positive feedback I regularly receive, I represent a large number of our local opinions. Seasonal workers have already received three months of wage subsidy, for no work, the peak season has finished, normally most would have left. From October 1, they will receive another 13 weeks’ full subsidy totaling $4680 that's nearly what a pensioner receives in one year. I ask you; do you think that’s fair? 

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