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Government working up a sweat over imaginary foes

Katherine Rich
National Member of Parliament

14 July 2000

Government working up a sweat over imaginary foes

Time and time again the Government has justified a clause in the Employment Relations Bill increasing the liability of directors, by saying it is aimed at "bad guy" employers who run sweatshops.

But the answers to questions National's Katherine Rich put to the Minister of Labour indicate New Zealand "sweatshops" are part of Labour Party myth and rhetoric, not reality.

"The Minister's answers indicate there has only been one recorded prosecution of a sweatshop operator in the last year," Katherine Rich said today.

"Of the 1,750,000 employees in New Zealand only 8 of them worked for that one "sweatshop" operator who was prosecuted.

"The Government has only scant figures to back up their extreme concerns about sweatshop businesses operating in New Zealand. The Minister's own answers show there is no data available to suggest the operation of sweatshops in New Zealand is a significant employment issue.

"Despite the cosmetic changes announced to clause 245 in the Employment Relations Bill the huge increase in director's liability will still hurt some New Zealand employers.

"The Government is using a sledgehammer to crack a non-existent walnut," Katherine Rich said.

Ends

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