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ACT Wants Answers On Tribunal Member Axings

ACT leader Richard Prebble says his party will question Attorney-General Margaret Wilson in Parliament over her axing of nine members of the former Employment Tribunal.

"The tribunal members were judicial officers, selected for their judicial expertise, not for their political views," Mr Prebble said.

"New Zealand has a non-political, independent judiciary.

"It appears to the ACT Party that Ms Wilson has set out to politicise an important part of our judicial process. The first question that ACT wants answered is why were these nine officers not appointed to equivalent positions under the Employment Relations Act?

"Were their decisions politically unacceptable to Ms Wilson, who holds extreme views on employment matters?

"It's ironic that the government claims the private sector are not good employers, when its first action is to axe judicial officers' jobs with no compensation.

"I understand at least one tribunal member was appointed just weeks before the election, after being assured by senior Labour MPs that Labour had no plans to axe the Employment Tribunal. This member gave up a university position with tenure, only to be told by the Labour government that he was being dismissed with three years of his contract still to run, and no compensation.

"Regardless of the important constitutional and legal principles in this case, what has happened is not fair.

"I understand officials recommended that most, if not all the tribunal members be re-appointed. But their careers were terminated by the Minister's actions. It's the sort of thing you'd expect in a country like Uganda, not New Zealand," Mr Prebble said.

ENDS


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