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Asure Report Released

A review into labour practices at Asure New Zealand has found that the company has fulfilled its obligations as a good employer, the Minister for State Owned Enterprises Mark Burton said.

The Minister today released a report by employment lawyer Peter Chemis. His independent review was commissioned after concerns were raised about a list, colloquially known as the "Goneburger List".

"Peter Chemis has conducted a very thorough and robust review," Mark Burton said.

"He has assessed extensive documentation, interviewed current and former Asure personnel including a number of meat inspectors who were in the "remove" category of the list, and undertaken a statistical analysis of attrition within Asure over the last two years.

"The review has concluded that the Goneburger List was compiled in 1998 by an Account Manager, with input from three other Account Managers. At the time Asure was being established as an SOE.

"The list was created following a request made by the Chief Executive for any performance problems to be identified. However, preparation of such a list had not been envisaged nor authorised by the Chief Executive, and when it came to light instructions were given for it to be destroyed.

"I am relieved that the review has found that no meat inspectors were disadvantaged as a result of being named on the list. Nor was there any evidence that the list influenced human resource policies within Asure.

"Nevertheless, there are lessons to be learnt," Mark Burton said.

"I believe that had the Employment Relations Act been in place, this issue would not have escalated. When questions began to be asked about such a list, Asure was less than forthright in its responses. In the words of the reviewer, "the company chose not to engage or to be candid".

"The good faith provisions of the ERA would have required the company to be more open with its staff and their union representatives, thus removing unnecessary uncertainty.

"Union officials were fully involved in this review. I hope that a positive and fruitful relationship with the company can be sustained now that the lingering concern about the "Goneburger List" has been resolved," Mark Burton said.

Ends

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