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Who's pulling the strings of new puppet Authority?

Max Bradford
National Industrial Relations Spokesperson

6 October 2000

Who's pulling the strings of new puppet Authority?

"Labour Minister Margaret Wilson owes the public an explanation in light of her admission today that she over-ruled an unspecified number of formal recommendations as to who should be on the Employment Relations Authority," National's Max Bradford said today.

Seven of the thirteen places on the Authority have gone to unionists and Labour Party stalwarts, and sources close to the Minister have indicated many of those people were hand-picked by her.

"Margaret Wilson denies that suggestion but at the same time admits she was 'disturbed' by some of the recommendations she received, and used her statutory authority to handpick some of the Authority appointments.

"This would appear to be a blatant example of a Minister picking 'friendlies' to ensure a powerful statutory body follows the whims of Labour policy. That would make the new Authority a puppet organisation and a complete sham.

"The normal objective of appointing people to labour market institutions has clearly been undermined in this case.

"Ms Wilson needs to reveal which of the appointees she individually selected and appointed. Is it possible that some of them might be among the unionists and Labour supporters who have ended up holding a majority of power on the Authority?

"I have also sought full disclosure about the process by which the members of the authority were selected and appointed. A series of Official Information Act requests are being lodged.

"Sadly I'm willing to bet the Government will withhold most of the information about this dubious appointment process. This Government may talk about openness and transparency, but when it comes to revealing their activities the shutters come down pretty quickly," Max Bradford said.


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