23 Oct 2014

Employment law debate 'cynical'

9:44 am on 23 October 2014

The Government is being accused of cynically wasting no time in debating proposed changes to employment law.

Michael Woodhouse

Michael Woodhouse Photo: RNZ / Chris Bramwell

Last night the Employment Relations Amendment bill was the first on the order paper to be debated, clause by clause, in the new Parliament.

National had to shelve the controversial bill before September's election after the loss of a crucial vote with the resignation of the former Act MP John Banks.

The legislation makes sweeping employment changes to collective agreements, the 90 day trial period, strike action and rest and meal breaks.

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Labour MP Sue Moroney told the House it was no surprise the Government was attacking workers as its first act.

However, Minister for Workplace Relations and Safety Michael Woodhouse said the changes were straightforward and sensible.

"No one is getting rid of collective bargaining and I think that's an example of how the sort of overreaction is playing into the public mind.

"Collective bargaining is an important part of our employment relations landscape and that will continue."

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