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Advisory Groups To Consolidate Workplace Law

The Minister of Labour, Margaret Wilson has announced the membership and terms of reference of three advisory committees which will develop new proposals for New Zealand workplace law and practice.

The groups will advise on Equal Employment Opportunity, the Holidays Act and the protection of workers when work is transferred to a different employer.

Ms Wilson said she was pleased to have been able to appoint groups which represent employers and employees and include experts in the different fields of study.

"In each case a talented and skilled chairperson will lead the advisory group. Employers and employees can expect their voices to be heard and their opinions to be carefully considered by the committees.

Equal Employment Opportunities

"Both Labour and the Alliance are keeping their promises to look for new ways to enhance the rights of people in work or looking for a job. There's a lot of evidence that subtle and insidious discrimination has continued in New Zealand workplaces in the last decade. The old and the young, recent immigrants, women, people with disabilities, Maori and Pacific Islanders all continue to face unjustified discrimination.

"In many cases employers – and shareholders – are being let down by managers who make decisions based on false assumptions and are unaware that they are discriminating unfairly and therefore not appointing the best person for the job.

"We want a system which makes it easy for employers to recruit the best talent without adding compliance costs to their businesses".

"We also want New Zealand to be able to attract and retain the best people in an increasingly competitive global labour market.

Holidays Act

"There is agreement from everyone that the Holidays Act needs reform. It is complex, unfair and high on compliance costs for employers.

"The government is seeking advice on a change to the law which meets the needs of all parties and the changing nature of the labour market.

Transfer of undertakings

"When a business is sold, or work is contracted out, the existing employees of the business being transferred may be left with little or no protection of their employment and conditions of work. This has been an important issue for some low-paid groups such as cleaners. The government, by setting up this advisory group is delivering on a promise made at the time the Employment Relations Bill was being debated to consider whether additional protections need to be put in place.

"The advisory groups continue the government's programme of supporting high quality workplaces and high productivity and balancing the needs of the modern international economy with the need for fairness and equity.

"I have not placed any timetable on the groups but I would like to see interim reports in April."

Attached: Membership of groups

Advisory Group on Equal Employment Opportunities

Chair: Judith Aitken

Dr Judith Aitken completed her term as Chief Executive of the Education Review Office at the end of 2000, and has extensive experience in public service management. She has been a chief executive in the Public Service since 1987, having held this position in the Ministry of Women’s Affairs in 1988-92. Dr Aitken was also a foundation public sector Trustee of the EEO Trust from 1992 to 1997. She therefore has a very good appreciation of EEO issues.


Robyn Leeming, President NZ Employers Federation (NZEF nominee)
Barbara Burton, Legal Adviser, NZ Employers Federation (NZEF nominee)
Judith Byrne, Policy Analyst, NZ Council of Trade Unions (NZCTU nominee)
Margaret Ledgerton, Policy Analyst, Association of University Staff (NZCTU nominee)
Cecilia Lashlie, Consultant, Department of Corrections (SSC nominee)
Trudie McNaughton, Executive Director, EEO Trust (EEO Trust nominee)
Diane Black, Chairperson, Counties/Manukau Maori District Council and Executive Member, National Maori District Council (Maori Business Network Nominee)
Marilyn Kohlhase, Management Consultant (Ministry of Pacific Island Affairs nominee)
Susan Merrilees, Student (DPA nominee)
Anna Fitzgibbon, Partner, LawWorks (other nominee)

Advisory Group on the Holidays Act

Chair: Peter Chemis

Peter Chemis is a Partner in Buddle Findlay. Mr Chemis has extensive experience in employment law and employment relations, including advising employers and employees on employment law matters (and in particular, the Holidays Act). He has advised corporate clients in relation to the employment and employment relations aspects of large mergers, acquisitions and restructures, and mediated and advocated in employment and other civil and commercial disputes. He has given advice to Government on a number of occasions, in particular in relation to the Employment Relations Act. His wide experience in employment, commercial and legislative areas will be invaluable in reviewing the Holidays Act.


Anne Knowles, Chief Executive, New Zealand Employers Federation (NZEF nominee)
Tim Cleary, Solicitor, Meat Industry Association (NZEF nominee)
Nigel Hillind, Employment Relations Manager, AMP (NZEF nominee)
John Rapley, Acting Corporate Human Resources Manager, State Services Commission (SSC Nominee)
Ross Wilson, President, New Zealand Council of Trade Unions (NZCTU nominee)
Joanne (Wattie) Watson, Solicitor, Public Service Association (NZCTU nominee)
Tony Wilton, General Counsel, Engineers Union (NZCTU nominee)
Maxine Gay, General Secretary, NZ Trade Union Federation (NZCTU nominee)

Advisory Group on Contracting Out

Chair: Nigel Haworth

Nigel Haworth is Foundation Professor and Head of the Department of International Business at the University of Auckland. He has substantial research experience in the labour relations area, both within New Zealand and internationally. He has published widely in these areas, and received international recognition for his expertise.

His current research interests include APEC and regional economic integration, labour standards, Maori sustainable commercial development, and internationalisation of SMEs. He is well qualified to lead the consideration of options for protection of employees affected by business sale or transfer or contracting out.


Anne Knowles, Chief Executive, New Zealand Employers Federation (NZEF nominee)
Jon Baxter, Group Manager, Human Resources, Ports of Auckland (NZEF nominee)
Peter Conway, Economist, NZ Council of Trade Unions (NZCTU nominee)
Luci Highfield, Legal Officer, Service and Food Workers Union (NZCTU nominee)
Andrew Norton, General Manager, Human Resources, Waitemata Health (SSC nominee)
Tony Spelman, Manager, Democratic and Corporate Services, Manukau City (Maori Business Network nominee)
Lita Foliaki, Manager, Pacific Health, Health Funding Authority (Ministry of Pacific Island Affairs nominee)
Peter Marshall, Manager, Research and Development, Human Resource Institute of NZ (other nominee)

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