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Holidays Bill must change - Sowry

Roger Sowry National Industrial Relations Spokesman

25 February 2003

Holidays Bill must change - Sowry

The National Party's promising to take no vacation from its opposition to the Holidays Bill after its first reading in Parliament.

"The life-blood of the New Zealand economy, small business, can not afford to have thousands of dollars worth of extra labour costs lumped on them at this time," according to National's Industrial Relations spokesman Roger Sowry.

"I want to make it clear this is not an attack on workers.

"The National Party wants to make sure workers aren't forced into the permanent holiday called redundancy - which could be the reality of the extra expense.

"It's estimated the Bill's public holiday provision changes could add 1% to annual wage costs for the average business.

"That's more than $7,000 extra for a medium-sized enterprise employing 20 people.

"With the international slow-down starting to take its toll, the Labour Government should be working with business to help cut costs not increase them.

"Add to that forecast increases in energy costs, the rising dollar, the economic impact of ratifying the Kyoto protocol, as well as hikes in OSH compliance costs and ACC levies - and a grim picture starts to develop.

"Business will also be forced to carry an extra burden for Maori consultation, as the Government's agenda of creeping political correctness is applied," says Mr Sowry.

"Some estimates suggest compliance costs will climb by nearly $44,000 this year - that's more than the average wage or one less person the average business could employ.

"We're talking about the engine room of New Zealand's economy, not the Trade Unions despite what Helen Clark might be telling the Australians," says Mr Sowry.

"Labour's anti-business slant is now reaching epidemic proportions and that's why the National Party will be pushing for the Holidays Bill to be overhauled at select committee," he says.


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