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Minister welcomes proposals to clarify Bill

Labour Minister Margaret Wilson reaffirmed today that she would be fully supportive of any changes to the Employment Relations Bill that clarified its intent.

Speaking to the Employers Federation symposium on the Bill, she re-emphasised an earlier statement that if the Select Committee finds the intent of certain parts of the Bill is not clear to the public, she would be happy to respond by making it so.

Ms Wilson says constructive debate on the Bill has been undermined by the Opposition parties' campaign of misinformation that has created much unnecessary distress and anxiety among many people.

Ms Wilson reassured the Federation that there is no intention to force anyone to change their employment status, whether individually or as a group through a third party.

The Minister also cleared the confusion around provisions dealing with the liability of directors.

"The most bizarre rumours are circulating over what this will mean and whom it will affect. In fact it is aimed at employers and directors who knowingly breach statutory requirements…Good employers and directors will not notice any difference."

This provision was introduced to address instances such as the re-emergence of sweatshops in New Zealand, Ms Wilson says. A recent example was the exploitation of Thai seamstresses in an Auckland factory who were found to be owed $30,000 in unpaid wages.

Ms Wilson acknowledged employer groups who have made a constructive contribution to the Bill, which would be reflected in the Act.

"I have made it clear from the outset of this process that I am open to dialogue on all aspects of the Bill. I want to ensure that we end up with a piece of legislation that is workable and, most importantly, balanced and enduring.

"Good employment relationships are good for business. Fundamentally, the Bill is about promoting productive employment relationships and business growth," says Ms Wilson

ENDS

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