NZ willing lamb to offshoring slaughter

Summary:While Australians seem to roar at the very mention of offshoring, New Zealanders say baa and get on with whatever it was they were doing before they heard the dreaded word.

While Australians seem to roar at the very mention of offshoring, New Zealanders say baa and get on with whatever it was they were doing before they heard the dreaded word.

When Telecom New Zealand was in the news for reportedly considering the offshoring of up to 1500 IT jobs, I argued that such cost-cutting could backfire and cited a poll showing overwhelming opposition to such a potential move.

However, one of my mates reckons Kiwis are open to globalisation and an open economy. He reckoned the unions had no power or influence in New Zealand. He could very well be right.

Indeed, Telecom's potential offshoring attracted little comment outside the predictable outrage of the Labour opposition. ICT Minister Steven Joyce simply noted he has no say in the affairs of a private company.

By contrast, Australia has powerful unions that still flex their muscle, and under Kevin Rudd, this seems to have strengthened. Australians are also more nationalistic and they strongly oppose such offshoring of work.

I thought of that today, as IBM sidesteps union claims it is looking to outsource 150 Australian jobs — a 10th of the number talked about concerning Telecom New Zealand.

I recall living in Australia a few years back and the mass opposition to Work Choices, a modest and moderate piece of legislation by Kiwi standards.

While New Zealand is a nation of "sheeple" happy with life as long as the All Blacks win, by contrast Australia is full of little bleaters who will bleat about anything.

Australians will bleat about the price of petrol, as they did when I was there, along with grocery prices, as if there is something Big Government and Kevin Rudd can do about it. This extends to bleating about jobs leaving the country.

So while Australians may get upset over offshoring proposals and may even stop them, Kiwi corporates like Telecom are free to proceed.

And Telecom might just do that. When it announced its profits earlier this month, during questions, the issue of offshoring came up as a cost-cutting measure.

What brief answers were given were bland and ambiguous, so no one could pin anything down as definitive. But reading between the lines, I am sure that if Telecom finds the offshoring case stacks up, they will press ahead, knowing full well that any potential opposition will be powerless to stop them!

Topics: IBM, New Zealand, Telcos

About

Darren Greenwood has been in journalism, not all of it IT, since the days of typewriters and long before the web spun its way around the world.Coming from Yorkshire, he can be blunt, and though having resided in New Zealand, as well as Australia, for quite some time, he insists he is not one of the 'sheeple!'

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