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Let's stick to the facts

2 August 2000 Media Statement

Let's stick to the facts

Labour Minister Margaret Wilson said today that a communications campaign was being mounted to inform directly small and medium sized businesses about the government's new employment relations legislation.

The government is distributing about 80,000 leaflets and fact magnets to businesses throughout the country. The leaflets and magnet promote the government's executive website (www.executive.govt.nz) where extensive information about the legislation, including the Bill itself can be found. The cost is about $150,000.

Margaret Wilson said that the campaign was necessary to counter misinformation and scare-mongering about Employment Relations Bill.

"The National and Act parties have been talking a lot of utter nonsense about the ERB. The government has decided to talk directly to businesses, providing them with factual information about the new legislation and its impact on the workplace.

"Employers need to know how to access objective information. The leaflet and magnet tell them how to do that.

"For example, the aim of Employment Relations Bill is to establish a more level playing field. It protects the rights of an individual worker, or a group of individual workers, who want to get together to negotiate a contract – but there is no monopoly right for unions.

"Furthermore, contrary to the campaign of misinformation and deceit, it does not restore compulsory unionism and it does not restore compulsory arbitration.

"With the submission process, the government has listened very carefully to reasonable concerns around a cluster of issues, and we have addressed those concerns. The basic principle of fairer relations in the workplace – a more level playing field – will not be changed, but, for example, we have made practical changes that employers consistently called for.

"The Employment Relations Bill is part of building a modern and productive economy. It is about good faith relationships, not bad faith contracts, and it brings New Zealand into line with international practice.

"This government relishes the prospect of the ERB being a central issue of the next election campaign. The National Party ran all the fears and smears last election, and fell flat on its face," Margaret Wilson said.


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