Will Alasdair Thompson’s “damage control” help close the gender pay gap?

A Green-friendly employer and EMA member just sent me this (recipient details removed). I presume it has been sent to all EMA member employers today:

If Alasdair Thompson has really had the epiphany he proclaims after a day to cogitate on the reaction to his outrageous comments, then perhaps he might like to reconsider the EMA’s position on Catherine Delahunty’s Equal Pay Amendment Bill.

Thompson’s inability to provide evidence to substantiate his bizarre claims about the reasons for the gender pay gap shows that more evidence is required to identify its real causes.

Requiring employers to compile and report statistics about pay levels by gender is hardly going to result in significant compliance costs.  It’s really only a few minutes work for one staff member each time there are changes in employee pay rates and on each reporting date.

Thompson’s bizarre statements and behaviour yesterday are likely to have helped the Greens’ campaign to close the gender pay gap.  And, hey, unlike in the corporate world, we didn’t have to pay him anything to do it!

34 Comments Posted

  1. What happened to picking the best person for the job? Catherine Delahunty’s comment that the position should be filled by a women is utterly absurd. Greens lost my vote right there.

  2. The gender gap is not only closing but has already been inverted in some sectors and age groups.

    In New Zealand the average wage of young unskilled males is lower than the average wage of unskilled young women. (Without wanting to sound sexist this is attributed to the fact that most jobs for young unskilled people are in the service sector, where young women have the advantage that they can generally speak in more than grunts and profanity, they wash and bathe more regularly, they dress better, and are generally better at customer relations.

    So if we believe in getting rid of the gender gap are we going to dismiss the observations above as sexist rubbish discriminating against men and then pass a law requiring that young women’s pay is reduced to match that of young men.

    I can see a day in the not too distant future where the gender gap is between men and women but with women on average being paid more than men.

    What then?

  3. I guess it really highlights that there are people out there with differing points of view.. even some that appear totally ignorant (men & women are different !)
    Of course the media jump on these things & put there own slant on them too.

    Freedom of speech ? Kia-ora

  4. greenfly 5:54 PM

    Then came Cactus Kate to save those brown kiddies from their genetically inferior parents and to support Alasdair Thompson and the EMA from a “women’s perspective”.

  5. The Pendulum swings back full distance
    Enter Honey.
    Might form a National Socialist Party for the election
    Can’t hurt hey?
    ….annex the Sudetenland and march in to Poland eh? eh?
    Shoes for the poor
    Stop killing Penguins and Whales ….eh?

  6. Then came ‘garrotting’ as the preferred pastime of the Act exec. Sadly, when one of their MPs self-garrotted, the practice fell from favour. Lately, doing impressions of characters from ‘Alice in Wonderland’, especially the Madhatters hilarious (did I spell that correctly?) tea-party scene, has kept the Yellow Team in stitches during their interminable caucus meets.

  7. and if we wanted to end teenage promiscuity..lower stds’..

    we could get dunne touring secondary schools..

    ..lecturing on ‘the joys of sex’…

    ..and using his personal video-scrapbook as a visual aid..

    ..they’ll be traumatised…but celibate…


  8. backbenchers noted that since dunne did it..

    there hasn’t been a single report on planking…

    ..the man who killed a craze..

    ..here’s an idea..let’s get him all liquored up…

    ..and live-stream it online….

    ..so teenagers can see what a ‘gas’ an alcohol-fueled future is..

    ..also..he should be filmed hanging off a hot-kronic…

    ..sales wd plummet..

    ..would it work also with ‘p’..?

    (‘c’mon pete…!..put that pipe down..!..’..)

    he’s a walking aversion-therapy..


  9. I would posit that Dr Dunny has him all lined up for a spot in ACT’s next Cabinet (read; small drawer).
    We have something to learn from the Tangata Whenua about protecting our Womenfolk…

  10. You’d make a dick of yourself on national television thus endangering your job while at the same time provoking outrage from a good percentage of the New Zealand public Dr Dunny Brush?
    On ya!

  11. “…Figures for sick and domestic leave obtained by the Public Service Association show women working in the public service take only 1.6 days a year more than men – 8.4 days on average compared with 6.8…”

    Employers associate the cost of child care (health leave) with the mothers of children, rather than the working couple who have children, and of course society leaves it to taxpayers to provide child care (including meeting the cost of parental leave).

    Maybe the problems are systemic – society expects mothers to work (work testing those on the DPB) but does not allow partners (with or without children) to get the dole when unemployed (even if looking for work).

    The whole system is based on women working but taxpayers affording the costs with employers receiving the extra workers for only the cost of an exta day of sick leave per year – and this is cited as a significant factor in general comparative wage rates. Really?

    The real issues are the expectation of longer working hours above the glass ceiling – meaning childlessness, a parental partner or a nanny, and otherwise the old boy business scene.

    In the end the only redemptive measure is a culture of job sharing – whereby positions are filled (as in the Green leadership) in pairs so there is someone on the job through the long hours and there is the capacity to cope with peak-work load periods – I mean work life balance -sustainable professional work practice so people don’t get burnt out. Work culture that allows family life and the capacity to enjoy the local environment etc (something attractive to working here rather than offshore etc).

  12. greeenfly is unable to utter anthing constructive (as always)- just personal abuse about tampons – do Southlanders / Southland Times know you are so classy?

    The average sick leave for people in private business is 4.6 days per year.

    phil reminds us in the public service the figure is 6.8 sick days for men and 8.4 days for women – 45-80% more than the private sector.

    Maybe an indication of work attitudes between private and public sector workers?

  13. As has been noted, Thompson will look back on these days as a very difficult period in his life.

  14. photonz1 is in Thompson’s pocket – along with a soggy handkerchief and an unused tampon he picked up off the office floor, thinking it was a medical aid for staunching nosebleeds.

  15. where photonz gets his 25% figure from…

    “…Figures for sick and domestic leave obtained by the Public Service Association show women working in the public service take only 1.6 days a year more than men – 8.4 days on average compared with 6.8…”

    spin away…little troll..!


  16. Why should salaries be private?

    Why should my colleagues know how much I earn? Salaries and Wages have always been viewed as something confidential.

  17. yet no one that supports the bill has provided any evidence for systematic discrimination – even anecdotal – that justifies it. Putting an extra burden on employers simply because you’re dubious about the reliability of employers is unjustifiable.

    @QoT – gather data by all means but don’t force employers to suddenly play you little games just because you’re too lazy to actually do the research itself. People have a right to privacy. Let’s hear about exactly where the money from unions is going – would you like that or do they deserve special protection?

  18. Nonsense, frog. Alasdair Thompson and the EMA don’t want any silly laws getting in the way of screwing the little people doing business! Besides, sure the pay gap exists, but obviously that’s just, um, inexplicable and actually trying to monitor it or gather data to establish why it exists is silly talk because obviously it’s nothing to do with sexism. *eyeroll*

    Edited for HTML fail!

  19. Kerry that is just the whole point of divide and rule. Of course salaries should not be private. Because salaries are kept a secret, employers can sneak in all sorts of contracts. Apart from a few MECAs that are posted on the web, nobody really knows what a collegue earns. In Europe wages are mentioned in classifieds so you can compare, results of negotiations are publicised. What are you scared of Photonz, that Catherine’s Bill will exactly proof that women get paid a lot less for equal work and get paid less than lower educated men. And spare me the ever returning argument that businesses cannot afford to pay decent wages. If you can’t afford the staff than your business is obviously not viable. There is absolutely no reason for friction if every menber of staff is paid for the work they do, if everyone does the same work, everyone gets the same wages. If people need extra education to do the job, take on extra responsabilities or have more extra experience than there is nothing wrong with them getting higher paypackets. Gender should have nothing to do with it.

  20. Some points on the media hysteria over this.

    – At the start of the interview Thompson said he understood and even seemed to agree with the intentions behind Catherine’s Bill – just not the problems it would cause.
    – He gave a list of legitimate reasons why women are sometimes paid less. And there IS reearch that backs most of this up, apart from the one comment on the list that has caused all the hysteria. The other reasons on his list were legitimate though, and few could argue with them (women take more time off to have babies, look after babies and children, and take more time off to look after sick children, than men).

    Catherines Bill has good aims, and on the surface seems like a good idea. However I can see it causing potential problems, particularly in small busineses.
    – in a small business of just a few people, salaries would no longer be private.
    – unions could no longer have higher pay rates for their members because someone could claim this was gender bias (perhaps a good thing – but not for unions).
    – knowing everyine eles salaries in a small company is bound to cause a lot of friction in the work place – somtethinmg Thompson seemed quite concerned about.
    – compliance costs. Probably no big deal for big companies but it’s just one more thing for small companies to have to do and get fined for if they forget (we already get well over 100 peices of correspndence from IRD every year, just to pay 2x gst, 4x yearly tax, and 12x paye – not to mention ACC, Statistics NZ, companies office and several other govt departments – most of it pointless nonsense that just wastes time and makes un unproductive).

    Anyway, the point of Catherines Bill is good. We just need to find ways that it can achieve it’s aims without causing more problems than it fixes.

    I’m sure if the right people concentrate on the problems and answers rather than the sideshow, that can be achieved.

  21. Total dork! Without realising it, Thompson played straight into Catherine Delahunty’s hands. The Parliamentary programme for Member’s Bills and th Nats’ aversion to gender equity would have normally meant Catherine Delahunty’s bill would have sunk without trace. Thompson has given some life to it.

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