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Mediation Process at Critical Stage - Mediator


9 April 2001

For Immediate Release

Mediation Process at Critical Stage

Statement by Walter Grills, Mediator, Employment Relations Service, Department of Labour

Employment Relations Service mediator, Walter Grills, has released a statement to clarify the status of the mediation process between the parties involved in a dispute at the Port of Nelson.

"The Mediation had reached a critical stage. All parties were seriously considering negotiations towards a settlement around a proposed compromise included in the draft report, and a step forward was about to be made. Because of the unauthorised release of the confidential document containing the proposed compromise, and subsequent public statements, a settlement may well be compromised at Port Nelson," said Walter Grills.

The mediation process involves first establishing the facts of the dispute. The confidential document is the second draft of a report by the mediator, which aims to reflect the views of all parties. The mediator is currently receiving further submissions that propose amendments to the document, from the parties.

"While the parties agree on some of the content of this draft, there are a number of facts where they are not in agreement. None of the parties have agreed on the facts in their entirety, but they are working towards agreement," said Walter Grills.

"I was anticipating either a full agreement on the facts by the end of this week, or an agreement on the majority of the facts, with identification of very limited areas of disagreement.

"All parties are happy for the final report to be made public, and there are promising signs that the compromise could find common ground.

"The release of the document, and public statements made about it, are extremely unhelpful to the mediation process,” said Walter Grills.

Walter Grills is writing to all parties involved in the negotiation to establish which party leaked the draft document.


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