One of the Labour-led Government’s main priorities is to strengthen unions’ rights at the expense of vulnerable workers and the health of New Zealand’s economy.
In the process of strengthening those rights it is clear that the Labour party wants to ignore the 82.3 per cent of workers who do not belong to a union.
Each time I have the opportunity I meet entrepreneurs and job creators in the Manukau East electorate and the wider Auckland region.
They share their anxiety about the significant increase in costs due to the pro-union employment changes proposed by the current Government. It is a no brainer that an increase in costs will put jobs in danger.
The previous National-led Government worked hard to consult employers and employees before formulating legislation that was positive not just for employers but employees and the New Zealand economy as well.
During our time in Government we were able to provide the framework that encouraged enterprises to hire 245,000 additional Kiwis in jobs in the last two years alone.
These efforts have resulted in New Zealand enjoying the third highest rate of employment in the developed world.
An example of this was recently shared with me by a local bed manufacturer from Manukau whose production and turn over in the last five years has grown over 10 times. In fact they have moved three times in the last five years to accommodate extra production.
Unfortunately, the manufacturer is now contemplating disengaging some of their current staff. They say this is because of the increase in costs.
I believe any Government wants to have a policy framework that benefits New Zealanders. However, with the Labour led coalition it is only fair to say that they are ready to put jobs and with it families of majority of Kiwis at risk just to please their support base, the unions.
The 14 changes proposed under the Employment Relations Amendment Bill will only add further costs to businesses and make it harder to compete.
Perhaps the Labour led coalition Government can answer those who may lose or have lost their jobs due to impending legislative changes.
Scrapping of 90-day trial periods for all except small businesses will without doubt reduce job opportunities for vulnerable workers.
Larger businesses are often the ones who take on vulnerable workers, including people like ex-prisoners and people who are recovering from difficult health situations, because they have the training systems in place to work with them.
We want every New Zealander to have a chance to work. Valuable workers are like gold to a business but many of them just need the opportunity to prove themselves.
New Zealand currently has one of the highest performing economies in the world for job growth and the most important thing to a worker is that there’s someone who’s prepared to take a chance and give them a job.
As I write this I note that Parliament has recently finished receiving submissions towards a bill that will implement the 14 changes.
I hope those who are likely to be most affected by these changes have made submissions to the Government.
The more we write to Parliament to raise our concerns, the more the Labour-NZ First Government will have to listen to peoples’ concerns.
New Zealanders need to reject Labour’s pro-union law changes now or there will be even more harmful reforms later in the year, including the ability of the government to dictate pay rates across entire industries.