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Surprising to see Exclusive Brethrens on TV

9 September

Surprising to see Exclusive Brethrens on TV

Can this be the same Exclusive Brethrens who refused to let TV cameras film the Employment Relations Bill Select Committee hearing in Christchurch in 2000?

Alliance co-leader Jill Ovens says she was present at the ERA hearings in Christchurch where the Exclusive Brethrens held up proceedings for several hours as they contested the right of the media to cover their presentation to the Select Committee, usually an open process.

They argued that their religion did not allow them to appear on television.

"So it came as a surprise to me to see them there in full view," Ms Ovens says.

"The Brethrens were there to promote their total hostility to unions and in fact managed to extract an exemption from the provisions of the Employment Relations Act for their multi-million dollar businesses. This means any employee of an Exclusive Brethren-run business, whether are members of the church or not, has no protection under the legislation." Ms Ovens says Greens MP Sue Bradford asked them at the time what they would do if someone working for them wanted to join a union, and their response was "that is not possible".

Ms Ovens says this is further proof that right-wing extremists are behind the push for a Brash-led National Government. The Exclusive Brethrens and the Business Roundtable are both self-appointed and undemocratic organisations, representing the self-interest of the biggest and most powerful business elites.

"They represent a tiny number of people who use their incredible wealth to wield a hugely disproportionate amount of influence over the political processes of this country. It is dangerously undemocratic.

"There is no similarity with the CTU backing of the Labour Party and other parties that represent the interests of ordinary New Zealanders. The CTU is a mainstream democratic organisation of 300,000 workers, including teachers and nurses, as well as blue collar workers," Ms Ovens says.

END

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