Politics | Hīkoi

PM warns against striking on Budget day

Prime Minister Christopher Luxon confirms that his sister-in-law works for a tobacco company but says he has never discussed tobacco policy with her. Photo / Angus Dreaver / RNZ

The organisers of Thursday’s Toitū Te Tiriti protest are calling for people to “go on strike” in support of the nationwide protests set for Budget day.

But Prime Minister Christopher Luxon is warning protesters against striking, and taking a full day off work, saying that would be a breach of employment law.

“That would be illegal,” he said.

“I think that’s wrong. I think that’s entirely wrong. I think, feel free to protest - now that probably is a weekend sport.”

Toitū Te Tiriti, which is connected to Te Pāti Māori, has organised protests to coincide with Budget Day.

In an online post, organisers said the protest was meant to show unity and “the might of Māori and tangata tiriti working together”. The post said the government’s policies were an “assault on tangata whenua and Te Tiriti o Waitangi”.

As part of its “call to action”, it said Māori and tangata Tiriti supporters should “go on strike for the day to prove the might of our economy by disconnecting entirely from it”.

Labour MP Peeni Henare said it wasn’t surprising to see this organised activism against the government, given months of hui and discussion about concerns with the government.

He said it was up to each individual about whether they chose to ‘strike’.

“Look, a lot of people came out to support the foreshore and seabed protests when that happened. I never heard of anyone losing their jobs,” he said.