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Locke defends Minister's presence on Nelson picket

Green MP Keith Locke has defended Associate Labour Minister Laila Harre's presence on the Nelson picket line yesterday.

Mr Locke was also present and spoke to the assembled workers.

"National MP Lockwood Smith wrongly describes the Minister's comments as 'anti-business'.

"Carter Holt is undermining effective stevedoring businesses in the South Island by using North Island casual labour to load their logs.

"The government should support locals being employed on the wharves with as many people as possible in full-time employment, and so it is positive to see a Minister supporting the stand the union is taking against the casualisation of labour."

Mr Locke said the "destructive" tactics come not from the union, as Lockwood Smith claims, but from Carter Holt, which is stealing local jobs and fostering an emotional reaction in South Island towns.

"The Employment Relations Act was about fairness industrial relations. Carter Holt is out of synch with the Act in trying to pit one group of workers against another in an effort to weaken the union movement."

"No government should remain neutral on basic issue of social justice and community development."

"I am proud to have spoken alongside the Minister at the Nelson community rally last night," said Mr Locke.

Keith Locke MP: (04) 470 6710 or 025 528 353 Gina Dempster, press secretary: (04) 470 6723 or 021 1265 289

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