The Labour-led Government has persisted with employment law changes that will hurt the New Zealand economy, our businesses and workers, National’s Workplace Relations and Safety spokesperson Scott Simpson says.

“Iain Lees-Galloway has claimed the Employment Relations Amendment Bill was intended to make life better for working New Zealanders. The real intent is to strengthen the rights of Labour’s union affiliates while doing little for the 83 per cent of workers who aren’t union members.

“This Bill forces extra costs on business, allows pay rates to be settled elsewhere and lets union officials enter workplaces unannounced.

“The coalition’s junior partner, NZ First, has failed to get any substantial push-back on what is an ideologically driven Bill. Given it wrangled a $3 billion slush fund out of the coalition agreement, the public must wonder what horse-trading went on to tame Winston Peters.

“Business leaders say they were ignored during the passage of the Bill and may have been hoping NZ First would argue on behalf of firms both large and small. But it has achieved little for the SMEs it purports to care for, which will now face increased costs they can’t control.

“Workplace flexibility is a key pillar of New Zealand’s economic growth and explains why we have one of the world’s highest rates of employment. Under current law, some 245,000 jobs have been created in the past two years. That’s an extra 5 per cent of Kiwis in work.

“Instead of trying to enhance the strengths of our economy, this Government has sparked the worst year of strikes in three decades, with no end in sight. Families with school children, commuters and people using health and justice services are among those being disrupted.

“Minister Iain Lees-Galloway is under scrutiny in other portfolios for skipping key details. He can’t be relied on to avoid hurting the economy with this Bill.

“A good industrial relations framework and a flexible labour market are critical to a strong and growing economy that creates jobs and nurtures our communities. A future National-led Government will repeal this attempt to take us back to 1970s-style adversarial union activity.”

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