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“ What Cost In Going It Alone?”

“Only time will reveal the real cost to the country in terms of reduced economic growth and lost job opportunities as New Zealand industry now fights to maintain competitiveness”, said David Moloney, President of the New Zealand Manufacturers Federation. Mr Moloney was commenting on the revised draft Employment Relations Bill being reported back to Parliament today.

“New Zealand manufacturers had sought assurances that the revised Employment Relations Bill would deliver reasonable employment and associated compliance costs, while maintaining an environment conducive to economic growth with the increased employment opportunities which come with such growth. This Bill does not deliver against these criteria.

“While the Government has moved to address some of the specific concerns of New Zealand manufacturers, the underlying thrust of the legislation has been to take New Zealand back in a direction travelled by none of our trading partners. Union rights will outweigh the rights of those who actually own businesses. Multi-employer bargaining will pose risks to individual companies no matter how much “good faith” is involved. Attempting to turn back the clock has never worked as New Zealand found out to its detriment in the late 70s and early 80s.

“We now live in a time when there are global, rather than local, standards of quality, speed of delivery and pricing. Effective supply chain management is more critical than ever before. Weak links in terms of failure to deliver quality product on time at the right price, are simply replaced. Our competitors have already moved or are moving to ensure a skilled and flexible work force capable of meeting the changing requirements of the global marketplace. So far New Zealand manufacturers have been able to match them. Now, New Zealand stands in grave risk of being left behind.

Increased employment and other business costs may be addressed by relocation overseas, by upgrading plant or machinery or by simply closing the gate. Any of these options mean reduced employment opportunities, particularly for those who are unskilled.

The Bill will enhance the already considerable advantages the employed have over those who are not, and will be cold comfort indeed for those who might otherwise have expected to secure a job.

For further Comment:

David Moloney 04 388 8355 (bus) 04 479 6230 (pvt)
Simon Carlaw 04 473-3000 (bus) 04 476-7729 (pvt)

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