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Probationary bill redundant says Dyson

Hon Ruth Dyson
Minister of Labour

2 June 2006 Media Statement

Probationary bill redundant says Dyson

The flexibility of New Zealand's labour market has been confirmed once again by a World Bank report, says Minister of Labour Ruth Dyson.

"As well as ranking New Zealand the number one place in the world to do business, a detailed breakdown of the World Bank survey awards New Zealand's economy an admirable 4th out of 155 countries for ease of employers starting or ending an employment relationship."

In addition to this, New Zealand scores 7 in the World Bank's rigidity of employment index compared to an OECD average of 35.8 (a higher value representing more rigid employment regulations). This means New Zealand has one of the least rigid employment markets in the OECD.

"These findings essentially render Dr Mapp and his probationary employment bill redundant, as every country he has compared New Zealand to has a more rigid employment environment, despite having the punitive probationary periods that he advocates in his bill."

Current employment legislation already allows for probationary periods to be entered into, but does not take away an employee's right to seek mediation or arbitration if they consider themselves unfairly dismissed, as Dr Mapp's punitive bill would.

Dr Mapp claims that if his bill fails Australia will become more attractive to New Zealand workers. In fact Australia trails far behind New Zealand in the survey, with their economy ranking 14th for ease of employers starting or ending an employment relationship and scoring 17 in the rigidity index, despite having probationary periods.

Other OECD countries with probationary periods that Dr Mapp has suggested we emulate have also been ranked as far more rigid than New Zealand with the UK 15th, Canada 24th and Ireland 59th.

"I call For Dr Mapp to stop wasting Parliament's time and taxpayers money by withdrawing his redundant bill, before he finds himself redundant."

ENDS

For the full World Bank report go to: www.doingbusiness.org

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