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Brash claims encourage racism say university staff

Association of University Staff - Media Release

Thursday, 5 February 2004

Brash claims encourage racism say university staff

Claims by National Party leader, Don Brash that Maori receive additional race-based leave arrangements encourage employers to be racist, the Association of University Staff (AUS) said today. Dr. Brash had claimed that new holidays legislation will give some Maori "unlimited tangi leave" and discourage employers from hiring Maori staff.

AUS National President Dr Bill Rosenberg said that bereavement and tangihanga leave arrangements are common in both the public and private sectors and allowed all employees, irrespective of race, to have extended bereavement leave where a genuine need exists.

Dr Rosenberg said many employees required additional leave because of family or blood ties to a deceased person, or because of particular cultural requirements including, but not limited to, attendance at all or a part of a tangihanga or its equivalent.

The new Holidays Act does not give unlimited tangihanga leave, nor does it give special privileges to Maori. It gives the same rights to all.

"Dr Brash is simply wrong on this and has attempted to beat-up an issue upon which there is no foundation,' said Dr Rosenberg. "His comments encourage racist behaviour by employers".

"Many of our members are from overseas and may need extended bereavement leave on the death of close relatives in their country of birth. Is Dr Brash also suggesting that employers should not employ world-class experts from other countries, or immigrants in general?"

"Dr Brash's comments are ill-considered and dangerous. They are also designed to support the opposition of employer organisations to the new Holidays Act, based on misinformation," he said.


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