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Extension on employment reform bill refused

Extension on employment reform bill refused; good faith lacking

Parliament's Select Committee has refused to extend the closing date for submissions which close next Friday, February 27th.

The Employers & Manufacturers Association applied for the extension in an attempt to meet the Bill's good faith provisions by consulting a wide range of its member's views and to gain the same time for understanding it that the CTU has had.

"EMA wanted to put forward a comprehensive proposal that would be fair and equitable for employers and employees," said Alasdair Thompson, EMA's chief executive.

"We wanted to be dealt with in good faith by being given sufficient time to consult our members before developing practical alternatives to many of the Bill's provisions.

"We did not want to simply supply a point by point commentary on it without our members' input.

"But our request for a time extension has been refused in a rejection of the good faith principles on which the bill is said to be based. The final legislation will be the poorer for it.

"The time allowed from the Bill's release on December 18th until now included the summer holidays period. Insufficient time has been allowed to get good input from our members.

"Two other Bills currently before Parliament, one relating to Maori Fisheries and the other to politicians' own pecuniary interests, have longer submission timeframes.

"The CTU largely wrote this Bill and their input and treatment has discriminated against employers.

"EMA Northern said if the time for submissions was not extended by a month to achieve this we would invite MP's of all parties to our own 'select committee' hearings where we would present our researched submission.

"Our submission will seek to map out an ideal employment relations environment for the future.

"Nonetheless we support the Business NZ submission, and will still seek to appear before the Select Committee.

"The Select Committee's failure to recognise our serious desire to consult widely with our members in a round of over 40 meetings would allow employers the same opportunity as the CTU had.

"Disallowing an extension of time to develop our submission on good employment relations law is a serious breach of good faith."

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