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Mallard asked to apologise for allegations

Media statement Thursday, August 7th, 2008

Mallard asked to apologise for allegations of criminal actions

The Employers & Manufacturers Association (Northern) has written to Labour Minister Trevor Mallard requesting an apology for statements that employers are committing criminal acts.

EMA also wants any changes to KiwiSaver brought before a select committee, not rammed through Parliament without the opportunity for public consultation.

On Radio NZ's Morning Report programme of July 23rd Mr Mallard said employers were stealing from their employees.

In particular Mr Mallard said on air the Employers and Manufacturers Association was stealing from its staff.

EMA strongly refutes these claims.

"They're plain wrong," said Alasdair Thompson, EMA's chief executive.

"Its easy to show how wrong they are.

"Every one of EMA's own employees in the office on the day of Mr Mallard's statement signed a letter saying they disagree with him. They are certain EMA has not stolen one cent from them.

"In fact they recognize that in making the transition to KiwiSaver, EMA did the opposite - it increased staff pay substantially more than it was obliged to under the KiwiSaver law.

"What makes it worse is Mr Mallard knew this before he made his statements.

"EMA has written to Mr Mallard saying: 'This public allegation of dishonest and criminal conduct is outrageous and blatantly defamatory. I seek your immediate apology and unqualified assurance that such a statement will not be repeated.

The EMA is a body that is committed to encouraging political debate for the benefit not only of our members, but also for employees of our members and the public at large. We have never, in many years of carrying out this function, been accused of underhand or criminal behaviour, nor anything approaching this.'

"Mr Mallard has not been able to name a single employer he says is stealing from their employees.

"It seems he simply wants to smear all employers."

Dr Cullen has also repeated Mr Mallard's allegations of employers stealing from their staff in Parliament under Parliamentary privilege.

"On behalf of all employers and employees EMA wants the merits of any changes proposed by the Government to be properly assessed through a select committee process involving public consultation.

"EMA will support legislation designed specifically to prevent any employer "pocketing" KiwiSaver tax credits. We endorse employers taking an approach whereby they increase their employees' total remuneration to cover the employer's KiwiSaver contribution."

ENDS

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