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Labour must accept responsibility for strife

Jenny Shipley Leader of the Opposition

20 February 2001

Labour must accept responsibility for strife

Labour must front up and accept total responsibility for the mounting disarray within industrial relations that is threatening our lucrative export sector, Opposition Leader Jenny Shipley said today.

This afternoon the Speaker granted Mrs Shipley her request for an Urgent Debate in Parliament on issues surrounding the MAF vets' strike.

"Labour only too readily dismissed our predictions of returning union domination and crippling strikes when the Employment Relations Act was passed last year. But now, less than 5 months on, thousands of meat workers are off work and New Zealanders are outraged that the $1.4 billion Easter lamb trade is now in serious jeopardy.

"The Prime Minister's spin a few days ago to take whatever legal action was necessary turned out to be an empty promise. Labour Minister Margaret Wilson has since been forced to side-step and make a series of apologies as to why Government action hasn't occurred.

"Once again the Prime Minister's words and actions are miles apart. Spin has again triumphed over substance. At the very least, the public now demands that Jim Sutton and Helen Clark must promise not enter into a soft settlement.

"National is willing to support any legislative measures that could assist in bringing this strife to a satisfactory conclusion," Mrs Shipley said.

Ends

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