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Pacific Island Families suffer at National’s Hands

12 December 2008

Pacific Island Families suffer at National’s Hands

National has broken faith with the electorate by pushing through legislation that removes the right of employees to take personal grievance claims if they are dismissed within 90 days and will undermine the interests of Pacific workers and Pacific families around the country" says PI spokeswoman Hon. Luamanuvao Winnie Laban.

Pacific Island workers rights and job security will markedly decrease if the 90 day bill is rushed through without being considered by a Select Committee says Hon. Luamanuvao Winnie Laban. The Employment Relations Act already allows for probationary periods, and does so without stripping away basic employment rights.

“There is no reason this legislation should not have gone to a select committee. The legislation takes away a fundamental right for workers, and no government should be able to do that without its legislation being subject to proper and detailed consideration.”

It's of particular concern that such legislation will affect those who are low skilled and vulnerable to unscrupulous employers who may take advantage of these changes. We already know that Pacific people are more likely to be at risk. In addition Small to medium businesses will find it far more difficult to attract skilled staff when they most need them especially considering the economic situation. It will also be more difficult for small to medium businesses to attract skilled migrants. This legislation works against the creation of a flexible and dynamic economy.”

Pacific families will also suffer from National's tax changes which see those at the bottom of the tax scale receiving the least. "Anyone earning between $14,000 and $20,000 will pay 8.5 percent more tax than under Labour’s Plan. All families earning $40,000 or below and some earning up to $80,000, will also pay more tax than under Labour’s plan. But those individuals earning over $70,000 will benefit.

“It robs low income earners of the opportunity to save for a decent retirement by gutting Kiwisaver to the tune of $3.5 billion.

"Finally I would be interested to know to what extent did the new Minister of Pacific Island Affairs advocate for consultation with our communities over these changes. She is their voice in Cabinet and must ensure that the needs of our Pacific people are met."


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