Gordon Campbell | Parliament TV | Parliament Today | Video | Questions Of the Day | Search


Proposed Employment Bill Changes “Cosmetic”

Proposed Employment Bill Changes “Cosmetic”

Wednesday 5th Jul 2000
Richard Prebble
Media Release -- Economy

ACT Leader Richard Prebble expressed anger that government MPs were using parliamentary privilege to keep proposed changes to the Employment Relations Bill secret, while at the same time Cabinet Ministers were using media statements to create the impression the government was “listening” to concerns.

“Yesterday, National MP Katherine Rich was threatened with a breach of privilege by Labour MP Graham Kelly. He said she had revealed to her local newspaper that there were no substantive changes to the Bill. But today Michael Cullen outlined seven so-called changes without a murmur from Mr Kelly, the select committee chairman,” Mr Prebble said.

“He is prepared to bully a new young Opposition MP but has done nothing about his Minister’s actions. The ACT Party will not be silenced. The amendments proposed by Dr Cullen are largely cosmetic.

“While we haven’t seen the government’s detailed proposals, I have reason to believe that some of the changes are totally superficial and will not alter the legal effect of the Bill.

“It is our understanding that most of the proposed changes are only happening where the coalition realises what it was proposing is totally unworkable,” Mr Prebble said.

“ACT believes the government now knows that declaring all dependent contractors employees is totally unworkable, but they are still seeking to overturn the contractual situation when it suits the unions.

“We’ve always predicted that the government would do a U-turn over fixed term contracts when they realised that as it was drafted, Christine Rankin had a job for life. The ludicrous ban on communication with employees is also totally impractical given that most companies employ five people or less and putting the boss in Coventry is unworkable.

“The continuity of employment clause, which as drafted would require employers to go on paying staff even when there is no work, is so draconian that no employer would sign a collective agreement. It’s safe to predict that will be changed. But frankly I don’t believe that Cullen’s claim that the power of unions to enter non-unionised workplaces will be changed.

“ACT believes that the absurd clause which covers directors’ liability will continue to be in the Bill despite Cullen’s press statements. All he appears to be conceding is that the clause is a nonsense.

“Instead of Dr Cullen and I trading guesses on what’s in the Bill, the government should be open and transparent and present a supplementary order paper to Parliament outlining publicly all the changes they propose to this legislation. They should then send it to the select committee and allow those who have made a submission to comment on the amendments. That would be a democratic, parliamentary way of proceeding with this poorly drafted dictatorial Bill,” Mr Prebble said. ENDS

For more information visit ACT online at or contact the ACT Parliamentary Office at

© Scoop Media

Parliament Headlines | Politics Headlines | Regional Headlines

Ardern Speech: Justice Summit Opens

If we want to talk about an effective justice system, we shouldn’t start with a discussion about prisons, but a discussion about New Zealand...

We believe in a ‘fair go’. We are fair minded and like to give people a chance. Ensuring everyone is treated fairly is part of the fabric of our culture.

And equally, we are defined by what we don’t believe ourselves to be – and we certainly don’t feel like the kind of place that would have one of the highest incarceration rates in the western world, and yet we do. More>>


Christchurch Quake: New Red Zone Payment For Uninsured

The Government will pay former residential red zone owners 100% of the 2007/08 rateable value for uninsured homes, Minister Megan Woods has announced today. More>>


Gordon Campbell: On MP Pay And The REAL P.C. Danger Zone

There has never been anything remotely credible about the way parliamentarians would paint themselves as the helpless victims of the Remuneration Authority when it came to their pay increases... More>>


Repatriation: Remains Of NZ Service People Return Home

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern and Minister for Veterans Ron Mark say they were honoured to be with the families of service personnel as they welcomed their loved ones home. More>>


Cop Shop Top-Up: 1800 New Police Through NZ

Police Commissioner Mike Bush has today confirmed further details around the allocation of the 1800 additional officers, following a $298.8 million increase for Police in Budget 2018... “These 1800 officers, alongside 485 support staff, will really enhance our work to keep people safe, and ensure they feel safe,” says Mr Bush. More>>


Human Right Commissions: Concern On Aged Care And Consent

A new report published by the Human Rights Commission raises concerns about the legal and human rights safeguards for an estimated 5000 elderly New Zealanders in secure dementia units and psychogeriatric facilities. More>>


Greens AGM: Leadership Stands Firm On Waka Jumping Bill

The Green Party leadership have dug in their heels and will not be reversing any of the decisions they have made in government. Former MPs Jeanette Fitzsimons and Sue Bradford had hoped the caucus might be persuaded this weekend to pull its support from the waka jumping bill. More>>


TOP Still Going, Actually: New Leader For Opportunities Party

New leader Geoff Simmons' aim as the leader of TOP is to take the party into Parliament at the next election where it can advocate and implement progressive reform in areas including fair taxation, cannabis legalisation, affordable housing, and environmental protection. More>>


Gordon Campbell: On Another Reason To Loathe HR Departments (And On The Teachers Strike)

This morning’s news item about Police emergency call centre staff turning up for work while they’re sick – because they’re afraid their sick leave statistics will be used against them, and their jobs put in jeopardy – is not an isolated case... More>>




Featured InfoPages