How Dirty Politics hurt low-paid workers

(Published earlier today at The Standard.)

New bits and pieces from Dirty Politics are coming to the fore every day, painting a picture of a systematic, deliberate strategy to use muck-raking and dirty tricks to subvert political discourse in NZ.

Today, the Building Services Contractors have demanded an explanation for emails quoted in Dirty Politics which seem to show Carrick Graham and Cameron Slater conspiring to attack the BSC and its president on behalf of Crest Clean.

This was the situation: only BSC members were allowed to tender for Government cleaning contracts. This meant that the cleaners who work hard at ungodly hours for public organisations were guaranteed above-minimum wages and fair working conditions.

Why didn’t CrestClean like it? Because CrestClean apparently has some kind of problem with paying people above minimum wage. Last year when they ran a terrible astroturfing campaign against Part 6A of the Employment Relations Act, their campaign account tweeted:

It tells you everything, doesn’t it? The only reason CrestClean isn’t paying its workers less is because they’re not legally allowed to.

But there were government contracts going and CrestClean wanted in. So according to Nicky Hager, they got a PR guru and a vile attack blogger to run a campaign against the BSC and the rules around government contracts. And they got what they wanted (not surprising, given this is a government which wants to take away your right to a tea break).

So while the Prime Minister is trying to spin some kind of elaborate conspiracy theory of his own onMorning Report and the right can’t agree if their line is “it’s all lies” or “it’s true but everyone does it”, I think this issue deserves closer attention. Because it speaks volumes about Slater and his friends if they would go to such sockpuppeting efforts, all so CrestClean could get paid taxpayer’s money while screwing over some of the lowest-paid workers in New Zealand.

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