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Govt. back down on ERB good news for sharemilkers

Gavan Herlihy
Opposition Agriculture Spokesperson
Wednesday 10 May 2000

Govt. back down on ERB good news for sharemilkers

Sharemilkers and dairy farmers around the country can breath a sigh of relief in the wake of the Government's back-down on the Employment Relations Bill, Opposition Agriculture spokesperson Gavan Herlihy said today.

"The Labour Minister has just admitted the Bill needs to be changed so sharemilkers don't get caught by the clause changing the employment status of dependent contractors.

"It's a pity she has taken so long to give sharemilkers some certainty.

"There has been deep concern from Federated Farmers that the impact Clause six of the legislation, turning sharemilkers into employees will have on farmers and sharemilkers.

"The sharemilker is an integral part of New Zealand's major export industry.

"The Employment Relations Bill threatened to turn the sharemilker relationship on its head and add costs and constraints to the way the dairy industry currently operates.

"National has been working hard to convince the Labour Minister to amend the law to specifically exclude sharemilkers from the Employment Relations Bill.

"Following questioning from National, Margaret Wilson has conceded that the Employment Relations Bill is not intended to override the policy intent of the Sharemilking Agreements Act 1937.

"She has now agreed to change the Bill to make it clear that sharemilkers are excluded.

"At least the Minister has finally come clean and given sharemilkers an assurance they won't be hit by Clause six in the Bill."


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