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Bad Day For The General

It's a bad day for a general who doesn't know where the troops are, says the Employers & Manufacturers Association (Northern). The EMA says the Prime Minister may not want to hear what it has to contribute, but that won't stop it making contributions towards Government's goals.

"The Prime Minister is giving no credit to the extensive business support there was, and still is for what Government is trying to achieve," said Bruce Goldsworthy, a director of the EMA.

"We are afraid the Government does not seem to know where its allies are in the community, and where the business artillery is, which are the means to achieve Government's social programme.

"The advice the PM is getting is failing to identify the range of views represented by industry associations with the result she is burning off business support faster than allies are coming on board.

"The EMA's record of independent advice to Government on behalf of members has been impeccable in the interests of business development and employment growth and we will continue to contribute constructively to the Government's many reviews.

"Our advice to Government, which is neither ideological nor political, is independent and founded on the practical business experience of our members.

"The PM needs independent advice from business just now more than ever as her advisors within Government are the same as those that got us to the present impasse.

"An example is the Treasury advice to Government that it should renege on the undertaking to treat R&D costs the same as other business expenses. EMA has repeatedly urged Government to keep this promise against the views of Treasury, and the Business Roundtable, but to date we have been ignored.

"We have raised the alarm with Government early this year over three major issues as well as on the R&D tax issue. These are the fragility of our economy, ACC, and the fundamental flaws in the Employment Relations Bill.

"We tried to warn Government that the economic growth it was celebrating early in the year was completely unsustainable.

"On March 30th this year, before the Employment Relations Bill was tabled, we advised Government that the nations' debt levels were growing much faster than the economy.

"The Government seemed to prefer the previous Government's false view that it had left things in good shape.

"On ACC we tried to change Government's mind to no avail, on the basis that competitive workplace insurance was more efficient and would be lower priced in the long run.

"On the Employment Relations Act we identified a raft of changes needed, many of which Government adopted. Those relating particularly to such issues as independent contractors and communicating with employees, were critical for getting the law right. We can't afford the litigation and confusion that may have otherwise resulted.

"We are afraid the PM is listening to a limited range of advice, and by doing so is polarising the community using divide and rule tactics, rather than being a leader of a Government for all New Zealanders, which is the hope and expectation she brought to Government."

Further comment: Bruce Goldsworthy tel 09 367 0948

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