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Sir William witters wastefully

2000 web siteA letter from Sir William Birch to New Zealand employers about Labour's employment relations has been labelled by its spokesperson Pete Hodgson as "wittering drivel, and a waste of taxpayers' money".

The letter characterises Labour's policy as a return to the past and reminds people of the Cooks and Stewards Union, the Boilermakers Union and endless strikes. Mr Hodgson said Sir William's decision to allow his name to be associated with "such mindlessness" meant that his remaining credibility had evaporated.

"This is the same man who, in 1990 wrote to every household in New Zealand promising that overtime rates would not be affected by the passage of the Employment Contracts Act. Now he is using taxpayers' money to scare employers into believing that the Cooks and Stewards Union and Boilermakers Union are lurking behind the bushes waiting to pounce.

"To the best of my knowledge both unions disappeared years ago.

"Sir William is scraping the bottom of the barrel. He has overstepped the mark, which is why dozens of employers are angrily faxing his letter to Labour candidates around the country. It is an insult to employers' intelligence to ask them to believe Sir William's drivel. It is not, by any stretch of the imagination, a reasoned political argument.

"Instead it is an attempt to limit National's defeat at the forthcoming polls. Sir William says that the letter is "not just speculation, or election year hype", but he is wrong. It is precisely that, and it's also seen as that. This week's poll showed that the gap between those who disapproved of the Employment Contracts Act and those who approved was the widest it has been in recent years.

"My advice to Sir William is to bow out noiselessly and spend his retirement looking around to see if he can find those 410,000 jobs he promised the nation in the days of Think Big."

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