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The Mapp Report 17 March 2006

The Mapp Report 17 March 2006

90-Day Probation Bill Passes First Reading

On Wednesday evening my Employment Relations (Probationary Employment) Amendment Bill passed its first reading in Parliament with a 63-58 majority. This means the Bill can now be referred to a select committee, where employers and employees will be given the opportunity to express their concerns and expectations.

The Bill will fix a problem that Labour has ignored. The OECD and the Treasury have both said New Zealand needs to “produce more flexibility in employment law”. New Zealand is the only modern advanced economy which does not have probation periods as a key part of employment law.

This Bill will enable young people who do not have previous work experience, or people who have been out of the workforce to find their first job, and get a foot-in-the-door. It will also enable employers to take a chance with new employees without facing the risk of expensive and protracted personal grievance periods.

Two of the Parties that supported the Bill, NZ First and the Maori Party, have raised concerns about casual workers and discrimination. The Bill protects the right to holidays, sick leave and claims for pay, and provides protection against serious discrimination. These issues will need to be fully canvassed at the Select Committee, and if necessary the Bill can be amended to address these concerns.

It is time for New Zealand to join the rest of the OECD with a modern employment law, which has probation periods. The Bill will promote greater growth and productivity in the economy. I look forward to hearing from the public at the Select Committee.

Devonport Women Lead Herceptin Petition

The women of Devonport have shown enormous strength and courage by taking the Herceptin petition to Parliament this week.

I have been contacted by several of the women involved with the petition and I fully support them in their quest for the funding of this drug.

On a personal level I have seen the emotional and physical effort needed to fight for this cause. My sister-in-law was taking Herceptin for a short time. The policy was then changed and she was denied the drug. She passed away from breast cancer in 2004.

The Devonport community is rightfully proud of these women and have got behind them in supporting this petition.

I am confident that the petition will be successful and that Herceptin will be fully funded in the near future.

This week’s example of political correctness

Has it gone too far?

Over a long weekend a constituent spent some time with their family at a holiday park at Martins Bay, Warkworth.

During the course of their holiday they observed a number of tractors towing boats to-and-from the boat ramp. This used to be a common sight on New Zealand beaches, but the popularity of four-wheel drive vehicles has reduced the need for tractors, and they are now a novelty for many "townies".

As part of the weekend’s festivities a tractor parade was held on the beach in front of the holiday camp. The constituent watched on with amusement as the parade setoff down the deserted beach - behind a tractor with a flashing warning light.

We hardly seem to have advanced from the olden-days when a man with a red flag was required walk in front of a vehicle to warn pedestrians of its approach.


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