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Alliance Puts Populism Before Jobs- ACT

Thursday 24th Jun 1999

Patricia Schnauer

Media Release -- Economy

ACT MP Patricia Schnauer today said the Alliance must start putting jobs before populism when it is drafting its policies.

"Just like Paid Parental Leave, the Alliance's latest "centrepiece" is populism at the expense of jobs and growth.

"There is no research behind the Alliance's election promise of four weeks minimum annual leave except that workers in Spain get six weeks. If Jim Anderton had done his homework he would know that workers in Spain pay dearly for their holidays with a crippling 60% of their wages taken in tax and an unemployment rate of 18.5%.

"The Alliance claims to represent the workers of the country, particularly those with low skills who need jobs the most, and yet their policies of dumping on the productive sector would affect the job prospects of those people the most.

Almost half the work force gets four weeks paid leave now as part of their negotiated employment contract. The flow on effect to employers as a result of the Alliance proposal could be as high as $1 billion a year.

"What we need in New Zealand are laws that reflect properly what the community needs to encourage job growth. There is no sense bringing in four weeks paid leave at the expense of higher employment. Similarly, many employees don't want to take their full leave entitlement now, and would rather take fewer holidays and have some extra money in their pockets. The present law prevents that flexibility and should be amended.

"It is very worrying that the Alliance is continuing the politics of envy by hammering the people in this country who are creating jobs and pushing the economy forward," said Patricia Schnauer.

ENDS

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