Thursday, 2 April 2009

NOT PJ: In the Unlikely Event of an Emergency

Bernard Darnton reckons the winner of this year's best April Fool's joke is the Department of Labour.

If milk is required during your flight, breasts will drop from the overhead compartments. Pull the breast towards you and begin to suckle. Ensure your own nipple is fitted before attempting to assist others.

If you’re planning to fly into New Plymouth or Invercargill (International) Airport, you might want to check up on what time little Jimmy’s feeds are due.

Yesterday the Employment Relations (Breaks, Infant Feeding, and Other Matters) Amendment Act came into force. The day before yesterday the Civil Aviation Authority was in a panic, suggesting that five regional airports might have to close for periods during the day when the air traffic controllers were off having a smoke or nursing their infants.

If they double timed by smoking while they were feeding their infants the problem could be partly alleviated but the union won’t hear of it.

In the old days (i.e. on Tuesday) air traffic controllers used to take their breaks between landings. Traffic at Invercargill (International) Airport – gateway to, umm, Tuatapere – hasn’t quite lived up to Tim Shadbolt’s grand hallucinations so snatching a few free minutes hasn’t been a problem until now. That was all buggered up by the Employment Relations (Blah, Blah, Whatever) Act, which operates under the assumption that someone in Wellington should dictate every detail of your day.

Now it’s work to rule, damn the inbound aircraft, I’m off for a pie. Or to nurse little Jimmy. (Exactly what this about-to-be-fed infant is doing in the airport control tower while he’s not being fed isn’t clear. Neither is whether it’s a good idea having aircraft guided to their safe harbours by someone who’s only managed thirty-five winks in the last four months.)

Last minute disaster was averted yesterday when the New Zealand Airline Pilots Association, who also agitate on behalf of air traffic controllers, agreed not to demand breaks during the five minutes a day that some of these airports see action. But rest assured that this crappy law dangles by a filament of goodwill, like the turd of Damocles over the next round of pay negotiations.

Whilst common sense prevailed at the airports, the Post-Primary Teachers’ Association was being its usual obstreperous self. School days could be extended past 4pm if the union gets its wish that the newly mandated breaks be taken in addition to already negotiated “non-contact” time. If these new provisions went into effect, teachers could get up to thirteen weeks and twenty minutes off a year.

There’s always a flurry of panic the day before these laws go into effect as it becomes clear what the legislation actually contains. It never occurs to any of the legislators who pass these laws that their grand schemes might have side effects. How many absurdities do we have to live though before Parliamentarians will wake up and say, “Holy Crap! I just realised everything I do – even the well-intentioned stuff – is bloody stupid! I’d better stop interfering right now!”
My advice to our representatives: Next time you think there’s an emergency, take a deep breath before attempting to assist others.
* * Bernard Darnton's NOT PJ column appears every Thursday here at NOT PC * *

1 comment:

  1. I like this new law Bernard. Why? If I want to suck my wife's breasts at lunch time, then I can turn up at her work place and there is time (the law allows her time off) for us to do that.


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