One of the few good things that have come out of Covid – 19 is there is a new appreciation for the wonderful work done by workers in the aged care sector. It is so heartening to see you all now appreciated rather than criticized and condemned. You all did an amazing job keeping both residents and you safe over this time and it is to be commended.
I have to say I was very impressed with the staff of Rosewood on how they conducted themselves and the wonderfully balanced programme on SUNDAY that was aired on Sunday night. It showed the true side of those of you who own and work in Aged Care. The impact that Covid had on everyone was still very raw and the true feelings of all of you who do this wonderful job of taking care of the frail, elderly and disabled, really shone through.
Now people like me know of your true worth. Yeah, all of us don’t get it right all of the time but we are only human. We do make mistakes and sometimes we just cannot meet the expectations of those close to the person in care. But you all do your best and your best shone through on Sunday night. For those who didn’t see Inside Rosewood watch here.
On top of this, those essential workers, yes you, are being commended in so many way. There is a major call for all essential workers to be paid a living wage. While the Age Care sector is fortunate enough to be receiving a living wage, many others are not but the push is strong for others to receive what you do. Read this.
While the living wage is the being touted these days, we must not forget the reason we celebrate Labour Day at the end of October each year. It is in recognition of the 8 hour day being implemented. This came about in 1840 when Samuel Parnell, a carpenter, won and 8 hour working day. In 1890 in recognition of this, Labour Day was commemorated for the first time and New Zealander became known as a ‘workers paradise’. Other countries followed suite and celebrate Labour Day each year now to.
Now most of us just think it is another day off, except for an essential worker like yourselves but I think we have to remember that many countries still do not have such a luxury. I have to say, the idea of a 8 hour working day is no longer treasured as a right of everyone in New Zealand or many others countries who celebrate Labour Day. Many people work more than a 8 hour day regularly, so it seems to have gone by the wayside but it doesn’t hurt us to remember how hard fought this was for the worker.
However, we mustn’t forget our forefathers who so valiantly strived for this to happen. While I understand that without a living wage, this is more difficult for some people, as I mentioned earlier, treasure the rights you have in New Zealand. The right to a fair wage – a living wage. But a living wage does come at a cost. The business or organisation you work for has to have the income to provide a living wage. While many do, others do not and this cost has to be passed on to the consumer. As a result, some things you purchase will have to cost more as a result.
I also think we have to be grateful for the welfare system we have here to. While it is sometimes open to abuse, the reason it was implemented in the first place was for a hand up when times are hard not a right to not work and pay your way. In 1935, the Labour Government led by Michael Joseph Savage, not only set up the first social security system in the world they also set in motion free education, a salaried medical service, a free public hospital system, adequate standards of housing, a basic minimum wage and full employment to name a few. While we may not enjoy all of these luxuries, many of them are still in place in some form today.
So, my message here today, is do not take for granted what we do have in New Zealand. We have led the world in many things including the first country to register nurses, the first country to have a social security system, the first country to give women the vote, the first country to have a Treaty with the first settlers of the land and one of the first to be Covid free plus many more firsts. They have all been hard fought for though as I said.
The money to prop up the luxuries we enjoy does not come about by merely printing more money. The money has to be earned and we all have to pay our share to keep affording these services when we need them. Be grateful you have a living wage and you pay taxes because it is the major way the government raises money. Pay your taxes gratefully and be thankful you are contributing to the lifestyle of all of us. Don’t complain about taxes. Don’t avoid paying taxes. It is not the government taking from you. It is actually the government being able to give back to you. Just remember, all the money that has been spent over Covid 19 has to be recovered somehow to keep New Zealand functioning. There is, unfortunately, no bottomless pit. Read more on the evolution of our welfare system.