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All Kiwis Will Pay For Cruel April Fools Prank

Lindsay Tisch MP
National Party Spokesman for Small Business

31 March 2004

All Kiwis Will Pay For Cruel April Fools Prank

All New Zealand workers will pay the price for a cruel April fools day prank hatched by the humourless jokers in the Beehive, says the National Party spokesman for Small Business Lindsay Tisch.

The Holidays Act comes into force from tomorrow (April 1). It'll be costly for businesses and employees. Workers will absorb more than half of that $700 million cost through lower wages and smaller pay increases.

"The Government was warned of this likely outcome by both the Department of Labour and the Treasury, but it has deliberately ignored their advice. In fact Treasury was only asked for an opinion as an afterthought - on the Friday before Cabinet met to vote on the matter.

"The cynical timing around the implementation of the legislation makes it hard to consider it anything but a blatant election ploy which could hurt our long-term economic growth.

"There is good reason to question the need for the changes when more than half of the people canvassed in a January Digipoll said they already had enough holidays. Faced with a choice of better wages instead of more time off, that number would probably grow even further. "It's yet another U-turn in a long line of U-turns from a Government which had previously dismissed any suggestion that it would move to introduce four weeks leave this term.

"There are other costs associated with the legislation, including public holiday pay provisions which Business NZ says could add an extra 1% to wage bills.

"That'll also force real costs on to everyone else.

"The Hospitality Association says the increase in public holiday rates will mean customers will be forced to pay more, have less choice and receive inferior service. There are already examples of restaurants telling patrons an extra 15% will be added to bills on public holidays.

"National is committed to less regulation and a fairer tax system. We need to give something back to hard-working middle and low income families while encouraging foreign investment and growth through a lower corporate tax rate," says Mr Tisch.

Ends

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