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Merry Christmas NZ workers – its easy to be sacked

Hon Phil Goff
Leader of the Labour Party

9 December 2008 Media Statement
Merry Christmas NZ workers – its easy to be sacked

The National Government’s Christmas present to New Zealand workers is to ram through law changes which remove fundamental employment rights, Labour Leader Phil Goff said today.

“John Key and National will use Parliamentary urgency to deprive workers of the right to challenge their dismissal as being unfair or without cause in the first three months of their employment.

“This 90 day hire and fire bill will place even more stress on workers at a time of rising unemployment and increasing uncertainty for workers.

“National’s real priorities have been exposed. They will push through changes to the law to make it easier to fire someone, before their financial assistance package for workers is even in place,” Mr Goff said.

“There are many hardworking New Zealanders who will suffer under this new law.

“As has been demonstrated in recent days, for example, women who find out they are pregnant in the first three months of starting work could find themselves out of a job. This bill allows for blatant discrimination and removes any protection workers currently have.

“It is even more disappointing that this measure is going to be rammed through Parliament before Christmas without going to a select committee. As part of our democracy almost every non-tax measure passed through this Parliament goes to a select committee for examination. That process allows proper scrutiny of flaws in policy or design. It helps Government get things right.

“Importantly it also allows for public input through submissions. This is all the more critical in a democracy where the proposed law is controversial and where it takes away vital and long-held rights,” he said.

“By taking this action, the Government will be denying this democratic right to Kiwis. Passage of law in this way was not foreshadowed anywhere by National. It was not in its priorities for the first 100 days. It is being rammed through under urgency without warning before Christmas. It was not even mentioned in today’s speech from the Throne.”

“John Key should explain why New Zealanders will not be able to make submissions on this Bill,” Phil Goff said


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