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Unions Have had the Run of the House

20 October 2004

Employment Relations Changes Show Unions Have had the Run of the House

The changes in the Employment Relations Law Reform Bill (the ER Bill) passed by parliament last night are unwarranted, undesirable and unwelcome, according to New Zealand Business Roundtable Policy Advisor, Norman LaRocque.

"These 'reforms' are just the most recent examples of the government's seemingly endless stream of anti-growth and anti-business policies. They will further erode New Zealand's competitiveness in world markets," Mr LaRocque said.

"While the reforms of the past 20 years - including the deregulation of the labour market - have hardly been perfect, they have provided New Zealand with a useful competitive advantage over other countries, many of which enjoy greater quantities of natural resources and closer proximity to large markets.

"The changes included in the ER Bill will do nothing to improve the business environment in New Zealand. Indeed, they represent a significant corrosion of that environment. While they are not the end of the world, they do represent another bureaucratic hurdle for firms seeking to create jobs and generate new opportunities for New Zealanders.

"This backward step comes at the same time as other countries are continuing to improve their own policy environments. Australia is just the latest example, with the re-elected Howard government indicating its intention to move ahead with further industrial relations reforms," Mr LaRocque said.

"These changes are all about payoff for unions, not prosperity for New Zealand," concluded Mr LaRocque.

ENDS

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