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First Day of ACT’s Rural Tour Ends

First Day of ACT’s Rural Tour Ends With Packed Meeting On ERB

ACT Rural MPs Penny Webster and Gerry Eckhoff last night hosted a packed meeting on the Government’s Employment Relations Bill in Hamilton as part of the Party’s rural tour through the Waikato and Taranaki.

The first day of the tour around the Waikato saw the MPs meeting with local farmers, the Export Institute and representatives from the Tatua Dairy Company before hosting the Hamilton fightback meeting against the Government’s Employment Relations Bill.

ACT MP Penny Webster said the common concern about the Bill was the misinformation being put out by the Coalition about its true impact. Other issues raised were the ability of unions to refuse membership, national employment negotiations and the uncertain future faced by sharemilkers under the new regime.
“Sharemilkers will be classified as dependent contractors for employment purposes, meaning sharemilker agreements would be treated on an employer-employee basis. This means a farmer who hires a sharemilker for a season may face a personal grievance case if he does not use the same sharemilker in the next season,” said Penny Webster.
“Under the Employment Relations Bill employers must prove that an employees job will no longer be existent or profitable before they can reinvest in the job market,” she said.
“Another area of concern was national agreements. Some people were worried that unions negotiating around New Zealand would demand a national rate. Employers who did not live in a big city would be forced to pay the same wage costs despite the higher costs of living reflected in main centre wages. Many felt this would give an unfair advantage to Auckland producers,” she said.
“This Bill will impose huge compliance costs on businesses, with many having to devote excessive time and money to what should really be an easy task; hiring an employee,” said Penny Webster.
ACT’s rural tour moves to New Plymouth today with another ERB fightback meeting scheduled there on Wednesday night. On the way the ACT MP’s Gerry Eckhoff, Penny Webster and Stephen Franks are today meeting with Federated Farmers Waikato Regional Executive, visiting Cambridge to see first hand the RMA battle of pig farmer Roger Johnson and meeting with members of RASTS in Otorohanga to discuss the termite problem.

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