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Member's Bill Will Avoid Chaos In Meat Industry

National Agriculture Spokesperson Gavan Herlihy today announced his intention to lodge a Private Members Bill to reduce the chaos and cost of industrial action in the meat industry.

"Last week's vets' strike cost our country dearly. Meat workers lost $15 million in wages, farmers were deprived of twice that in delayed payments for stock, and there was inestimable damage done to New Zealand's reputation as a reliable source of quality meat products.

"We must have legislation that ensures that a small handful of Government employees cannot hold an entire industry to ransom, as happened last week.

"My Private Members Bill will align the meat industry with other essential industries, such as the dairy industry. Parties have to give fourteen days of notice of a strike.

"Under the existing Act the meat processing industry only has to give three days notice. A 14-day period, rather than the current three-day one, may have avoided the chaos and cost of the recent vets' strike.

"The current wording in the Act only refers to meat being certified for local consumption. My amendments correct this anomaly to ensure that certification services for export meat are classed as an 'essential industry'.

"Clearly the export meat industry is an 'essential industry' and legislation must reflect this irrefutable fact. Our sophisticated chilled meat exports cannot afford to be put in jeopardy by current legislation which failed during the recent Government employed vet strike," Mr Herlihy said.


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