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Secret Group Wrote Employment Bill

Sunday 23rd Apr 2000
Richard Prebble
Media Release -- Economy

A secret meeting was held by the Labour Party in December last year, to dramatically change their election manifesto employment policy, said ACT leader Richard Prebble. Documents released under the Official Information Act show that a covert meeting was held on the 22 December with ‘Labour Party Interest Groups’ . The goal of the meeting was to ‘ signal a different approach/fundamental shift to employment relationships. “This secret meeting subverted the democratic process,” said Richard Prebble “The attendants of this clandestine liaison agreed to ‘the promotion of unionism’, ‘ de-legalisation of employment relations to assist the unions’ and to limit ‘the role of the Court of Appeal’. “They also agreed to, ‘the abolition of the Employment Tribunal’, yet throughout Labour’s election campaign, they strongly denied they would abolish the Tribunal. “The papers obtained make it clear that very controversial aspects of the bill, such as making independent contractors employees ,free access for unions to workplaces (even if there are no union members) and the extraordinary clause allowing reinstatement under any circumstances, were all determined at this secret meeting. “Even the provision that allows personal grievances to go to mediation came from this powerful covert group. “It is also clear that on the 23 December these instructions were sent straight to the Labour Department. It follows that this group, and not Cabinet, determined the shape of the Employment Bill. “ACT has many questions it would like answered about this political subterfuge including; Who are the secret groups? Was the Alliance aware of this meeting? Why are the names secret? Did they or their organisations contribute to Labour’s election campaign? “ACT also wants to know who is the secret law drafter whose advice is being relied on to write the employment law? The lives of the New Zealand public will be greatly influenced by this persons decisions, yet the person chooses to conceal their identity. “ACT believes the meeting is contrary to open, democratic, accountable government and will be pursuing this corruption of government practice through parliamentary questions,” said ACT Leader Richard Prebble.

For more information visit ACT online at http://www.act.org.nz or contact the ACT Parliamentary Office at act@parliament.govt.nz.

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