Opposition response to workplace bill

The Government has announced changes they will make to workplace and employment legislation – see Workplace legislation announced.

Some of the proposed changes undo legislation introduced by the last government in an employer/employee  flip flop ritual between National and Labour.

Opposition spokesperson Amy Adams responds:


Employment changes will reduce job opportunities

The Labour-led Government’s employment law changes announced today can only slow down New Zealand’s high-performing job market, National Party Workplace Relations Spokesperson Amy Adams says.

“These changes will only reduce job opportunities and wage growth, especially for those vulnerable workers on the edges of the labour market. They also mean workers will have less flexibility to get their job done,” Ms Adams says.

“The law as it stands encourages all businesses, small and large, to grow their workforces and take a chance on new workers and long-term unemployed people.

“While Labour have now partially backed down and allowed small businesses to continue with 90 day trials, they’ve still closed those trials off to the bigger businesses that take on many of these vulnerable workers. Those workers will have fewer opportunities.

“If 90 day trials are okay for small businesses, then why shouldn’t they apply to larger businesses as well?”

Ms Adams says that with New Zealand’s world-leading performance in job creation over the last few years, the onus was on the government to justify the need for the reforms.

“Under current employment law New Zealand has added a mammoth 245,000 jobs in the last two years and has the third highest employment rate in the developed world. Nearly 80 per cent of New Zealand workers are in full-time jobs and wages have been growing at twice the rate of inflation.

“These changes will only damage that track record. So why are they actually needed?

“New Zealanders will rightly suspect they are a random union wish list. People will be asking exactly how much influence these unions have in the current Government.

“These reforms will further damage business confidence and take New Zealand backwards. They will only disrupt New Zealand’s settled and successful employment law.

“That’s not good news for jobs or wages for New Zealanders.”

55 Comments

  1. Alan Wilkinson

     /  January 26, 2018

    Common sense from Adams. Ideological stupidity from Labour.

    • Mefrostate

       /  January 26, 2018

      Sadly Adams’ “common sense” is directly contradicted by the evidence that the 90 day trials had no effect on hires of disadvantaged workers.

      • PDB

         /  January 26, 2018

        Don’t believe everything you read Mefrostate – I’m involved in a lot of company hiring and people with convictions &/or dodgy work histories have benefited considerably with the opportunity to prove their work worthiness under the 90 day trial. All that will happen is bigger businesses will initially take staff through an agency and decide that way if staff are any good before offering them fulltime roles – far better for the prospective worker to cut out the middle man.

        Unlike what we would told by Labour prior to the trials being implemented (the sky would fall in and most people would be let go once the 90 days was up) the policy went largely with little problems. The cost of hiring someone nowadays is so high that employers are not wanting to get rid of good staff.

        • Mefrostate

           /  January 26, 2018

          You’re essentially telling me to ignore the statistical evidence and instead listen to your anecdote.

          I actually thought the 90 day trials were good policy, and I think you make a good point about agencies being used as a loophole, but with regard to hiring disadvantaged workers Adams is clearly deploying rhetoric which is contrary to the evidence.

          • PDB

             /  January 26, 2018

            Even one person with a dodgy work history getting a job under the 90 day rule is better than nobody getting a job without it.

            Labour obviously also disagree with your ‘statistics’ considering they have backed down by allowing small business to still use it.

            • Mefrostate

               /  January 26, 2018

              Your first paragraph is a good point, but there’s no evidence of it helping disadvantaged workers.

              Your second paragraph raises quite a good question for Labour: why have different rules for firms of different sizes?

              I don’t think “backing down” is accurate though, RNZ reported this policy with the over/under 20 employee rule right from the start.

            • PDB

               /  January 26, 2018

              Mefro: “Your first paragraph is a good point, but there’s no evidence of it helping disadvantaged workers.”

              Again you are wrong – I’ve seen with my own eyes employers in my industry giving people the benefit of the doubt because of the 90 day period – you may not believe me, up to you.

              Did the Motu Research actually ask employers anything? As far as I’m aware – no. Instead they based their findings purely on whether or not jobs grew after the 90 day period was implemented. Did it ever cross their minds that without the 90 day period the amount of jobs might have drastically reduced instead?

              NZ Herald: “Workplace Relations and Safety Minister Michael Woodhouse told the Herald that the Motu research missed the point.

              The 90-day period was designed to protect jobs during the global financial crisis, he said.

              “Yes, it is technically correct to say that jobs didn’t grow thanks to the 90-day trial period, but they hadn’t looked at whether or not jobs were protected.”

        • Corky

           /  January 26, 2018

          ”All that will happen is bigger businesses will initially take staff through an agency and decide that way if staff are any good before offering them fulltime roles – far better for the prospective worker to cut out the middle man.”

          Heinz Wattie works through an agency. I have helped people jump through the hoops trying to get employment. The frustrations are immense.

          • Mefrostate

             /  January 26, 2018

            But Heinz clearly aren’t doing that because of the 90 days rule (or lack thereof).

      • Alan Wilkinson

         /  January 26, 2018

        How did you define disadvantaged workers?

      • Alan Wilkinson

         /  January 26, 2018

        Actually the noteworthy result from the Motu study was that union members were less likely to be hired. That is certainly why Labour is trying to kill it. As for disadvantaged workers no change in hiring percentages was found. Consequently if the policy encouraged employers to hire more workers then all benefited. And indeed hiring has been strong. So Labour is playing to the Unions rather than the unemployed.

        • Mefrostate

           /  January 26, 2018

          We can discuss those things, and the pros & cons of Labour’s changes, but first I’d like you to acknowledge that Adams was employing rhetoric which is directly contradicted by the Motu study, and that you gobbled up that rhetoric because it felt like “common sense” (read: fit your prior beliefs) and then had the gall to accuse Labour of being the ideologues.

          • Alan Wilkinson

             /  January 26, 2018

            Oh, just F.O. Mefro with your perpetual Lefty sad and stupid bitchiness.

            But before you do, just tell us what Adams said quoted above that contradicts in any way the accurate summary I just gave. Nothing she said supports your misrepresentation that either she or I claimed the 90 day rule gave preferential treatment to your “disadvantaged workers”.

            • Mefrostate

               /  January 26, 2018

              Adams: “These changes will only reduce job opportunities and wage growth, especially for those vulnerable workers on the edges of the labour market.”

              Motu: “We find no evidence that the policy affected the number of hires by firms on average, either overall or into employment that lasted beyond the trial period.”

              Alan Wilkinson: “Common sense from Adams”

              Me: But she’s wrong.

              Alan Wilkinson: Let’s talk about unions instead.

            • Alan Wilkinson

               /  January 26, 2018

              She isn’t wrong. The policy encourages firms to risk hiring more staff. The usual percentage of those will be from those over-represented amongst the unemployed. Unemployment will fall (and has). Those on the margins of the labour market benefited and will be adversely affected by the policy reversal.

            • Mefrostate

               /  January 26, 2018

              Motu: “We find no evidence that the policy affected the number of hires by firms on average, either overall or into employment that lasted beyond the trial period.”

              Falling unemployment tells you nothing about the 90-day policy because there’s no counterfactual. Nobody except you is attributing the fall in unemployment to the 90-day policy.

            • Alan Wilkinson

               /  January 26, 2018

              Except the common sense that if employer senses less risk they will be more inclined to employ and that NZ has subsequently done well relative to other countries. And Motu did find an effect in the employer sectors that most use trial periods.

            • PDB

               /  January 26, 2018

              Again I ask why would Labour backtrack on abolishing the 90 day law for small businesses if it didn’t work?

              Motu also dismissed findings that didn’t fit the narrative – the below 10% increase of hiring in the construction and wholesale trade industries dismissed as not particularly relevant.

              Motu: “within the construction and wholesale trade industries, which report high use of trial periods, there is evidence of a 10 percent increase in hiring. However, this evidence is statistically weak, meaning the finding may be driven by pure chance and may not reflect any real-world effect.”

            • Mefrostate

               /  January 26, 2018

              @Alan, again you largely defer to discussing alternative factors, rather than facing up to the clear misrepresentation by Adams.

            • Mefrostate

               /  January 26, 2018

              @PDB Motu highlighted the 10.3% in their abstract, which has the effect of drawing particular attention to it. Your quoted text is pretty standard academic terminology for findings with p-values around 0.05-0.10. I don’t read any dishonesty in Motu’s framing of their findings.

              I think you’ve got a good point about why would Labour remove it for firms with <20 employees but not those above it. What's good for the goose and all that.

            • Alan Wilkinson

               /  January 26, 2018

              Motu did not have information on which employers used the law but when they looked at those who most used trial periods they found a positive impact. But go on believing it is Adams who is misrepresenting the situation if it makes you happier than your usual sour self.

            • Mefrostate

               /  January 26, 2018

              Adams: “These changes will only reduce job opportunities and wage growth, especially for those vulnerable workers on the edges of the labour market.”

              Motu: “Both across industries and in high-use industries, we see no evidence that trial period policy altered the probability that an individual hired by a firm with at least 15 employees was young, a recent education leaver, a recent migrant, a recent beneficiary, a young Māori or Pasifika, or a person who had not worked in the preceding year. That is, these types of disadvantaged workers did not seem to disproportionately benefit from (or pay the employment costs of) the policy.”

              Alan: Nah, I trust Adams because it’s just good old fashioned kiwi common sense (and also because I see politics as a team sport and she’s on my team).

            • Alan Wilkinson

               /  January 26, 2018

              As I noted before it is not necessary that the proportionality changes to improve the lot of those marginally employable, merely that employment overall improves. Moreover it improved contemporaneously with the legislation in exactly the sectors making most use of trial periods.

            • Mefrostate

               /  January 26, 2018

              That still wouldn’t justify the “especially” in Adams’ claim.

              I realise I’m getting quite nit-picky here, but this level of discussion is far more valuable discourse than your constant bitching about the left.

    • PDB

       /  January 26, 2018

      Another half-assed policy (this time for the benefit of their union masters) that they have watered down considerably as they don’t even believe in it.

      • PartisanZ

         /  January 26, 2018

        I disagree. I think its imminently sensible policy attempting to balance sound management of the economy as a whole while restoring a just balance to workplace relations …

        Unions are no longer powerful enough to be anyone’s “master” since the New Right eviscerated and then corporatised them under the guise of ‘economic reform’ … rather than allowing them to be democratically organised economic partners …

        • Tidal legislation. IN with Labour and OUT with National

          • PartisanZ

             /  January 26, 2018

            Tribal legislation re human rights and human progress. RIGHT with Labour and WRONG with National.

  2. Corky

     /  January 26, 2018

    Lots of rhetoric. I just wish it wasn’t true. For example, having some union prat walking into your place of business, disrupting proceedings and wasting time, is hard to fathom in this day and age. Blind ideology is rather easy to spot.

    That said, I welcome these changes, especially wage reforms later this year. Our economy will tank, and that’ll mean Labour is a one term wonder….just as it should be.

    • PartisanZ

       /  January 26, 2018

      I predict it will have little effect on ethical employers, and may even encourage some to get ethical, while regulating the unethical ones with a pretty soft hand …

      The economy will benefit – or would* – and Labour-led’s popularity will (or would*) benefit too … especially coinciding as it does with the PM being a new, working, first-time mum …

      The would* part only arises because the Right’s inclination, power and ability to manipulate public opinion, business & consumer confidence are not fully known …

      Its a sad, sad sector of the New Zeal Land population who would sooner scuttle their own economy than positively reframe their viewpoint … a blinding indictment on their ideology.

      • PartisanZ

         /  January 26, 2018

        If they were part of the crew on a ship they’d be mutineers …

      • Corky

         /  January 26, 2018

        ”Its a sad, sad sector of the New Zeal Land population who would sooner scuttle their own economy than positively reframe their viewpoint ”

        Why change your viewpoint when the vista ain’t broke?

        • PartisanZ

           /  January 26, 2018

          Why not change your viewpoint when the new vista ain’t really new and ain’t really any different?

          Ummm … because your Ship-of-State has a new captain?

          Captain Jacinda is sailing into ‘fairer weather’ …

          Maybe because the gun in your hand – pointed at your unarmed employee/opponent –
          has been slight-of-hand reloaded with blanks?

          • Corky

             /  January 26, 2018

            You have the same problem as Labour…ideological blindness with everyone else at fault.

            I repeat, nothing is broken….at least not yet. But I’m sure you will provide commentary as to why New Zealand goes down the gurgler when it does.

            In fact, you are so smart, many will probably believe your compelling synopsis
            of how National is blame worthy for our demise.

            Of course, I wont.

            • PartisanZ

               /  January 26, 2018

              Just because nothing is broken for YOU … because you’ve had your ideology in place for 9 years … doesn’t mean nothing is broken …

              Self-centred thinking to the point of narcissism.

              When has Aotearoa NZ “gone down the gurgler”?

              The Great Depression? … tempered first by Reform (I think?) social spending and then rescued by the First Labour Government and ‘Social Security’ …

              Or perhaps 1913, when we came so close to class-war as workers fought for the very rights Labour are now returning to them … and Massey’s Cossacks – young, armed farmer fascists on horseback – beat their fellow citizens into senseless submission …?

              Yous Righties are running in fear of phantom socialists … Its not going to happen … not now … all anyone can hope for is capitalism with greater-or-lesser social responsibility …

              I’ll go on hoping for ‘democratic enterprise socialism’ … or something similar that hasn’t been given a proper name yet … but is actually inevitable when population, resource depletion, pollution and climate-change pressure gets too much …

            • Corky

               /  January 26, 2018

              ”Just because nothing is broken for YOU … because you’ve had your ideology in place for 9 years … doesn’t mean nothing is broken …”

              Well, nothing is perfect. But you are insinuating I live in my own little fantasy world. Outside of my little world are problems I’m not capable of perceiving.

              The trouble is outside commentators have been extremely impressed with our economy. And I certainly didn’t pay them off for a favourable review.

              But here’s another problem for you Lefties. This will have nothing to do with Labours performance, but it will tar them with the same brush.

              The Aussie economy is back on track. Job creation is happening. That will see Kiwis back across the ditch. Us Righties will spin that as disaffected Kiwis leaving our socialist dream for Aussie reality.

              Pretty slick, eh, Parti?

            • PartisanZ

               /  January 26, 2018

              Outside commentators may have been extremely impressed with our economy but inside commentators, closer to the action, like NZ Initiative I quote elsewhere on this stream, apparently aren’t …

              The “disaffected Kiwis leaving our socialist dream” you Righties spin is only going to result in more new immigrants to fill labour shortages here Corky … bummer for you and sorethumb huh?

              That’s “pretty slick” like a North Altantic oil slick mate …

            • phantom snowflake

               /  January 26, 2018

              Frottage of the White Brigade??

            • Corky

               /  January 26, 2018

              ”The “disaffected Kiwis leaving our socialist dream” you Righties spin is only going to result in more new immigrants to fill labour shortages here Corky … bummer for you and sorethumb huh?”

              The horse has already bolted. It doesn’t matter. This fact is yet to register with you..but it will, I promise.

            • PartisanZ

               /  January 26, 2018

              I know the horse has bolted Corky … who could possibly fail to notice …

              It’s the downside-cost of cheap 2nd hand cars, Warehouse ‘bargains’ and $2 shop ‘trinkarbage’ – new word #134 “trinkets” and “garbage – not to mention ‘bad steel’ in your motorway overbridge … and Big ‘H’ logging trucks chewing up your liquid road …

              The ‘Rogered’ in Rogerednomics …

              The euthanasia in Ruthanasia …

              The cart (economics) before the horse (people) …

      • Trevors_elbow

         /  January 26, 2018

        Hahahahaha… priceless….

        “The would* part only arises because the Right’s inclination, power and ability to manipulate public opinion, business & consumer confidence are not fully known”

        Yip worked for them at the last general election and for the 3 elections Clark won…Do ya even read wat ya rite????? No conspiracy theory to weird for ya??

        And where are the conrades protesting the TPPA now Labour have signed up?

        • PartisanZ

           /  January 26, 2018

          Here’s a typical example, this one an election campaign ‘opinion’ (opine) from NZ Initiative, one of the Right-Employer-Conservative-Wealth-Power’s strongest lobby groups …

          https://www.nbr.co.nz/opinion/magical-thinking-doesnt-lift-wages

          “Productivity growth has been low over the last decade and a half. Therefore growth in real wages has also been modest”.

          This somewhat contradicts Amy Adams assertion above that ” …New Zealand’s world-leading performance in job creation over the last few years …

          “Under current employment law New Zealand has added a mammoth 245,000 jobs in the last two years and has the third highest employment rate in the developed world. Nearly 80 per cent of New Zealand workers are in full-time jobs and wages have been growing at twice the rate of inflation.”

          A rate (rort) of inflation that excludes housing …

          NZ Initiative of course goes on to blame “magical thinking” and lack of education for all our economic woes … as though the complexities of national & international economics were binary equations …

          • Corky

             /  January 26, 2018

            ”As though the complexities of national & international economics were binary equations …”

            Might pay passing that on to Labour. Tell them the economy is like a see-saw. It will rarely be perfectly aligned horizontally. But that’s not the name of the game.
            The name of the game is to stop it crashing to earth with a jarring thud.

            • phantom snowflake

               /  January 26, 2018

              Nope:

              “My pseudophilosophical point is simply that when an analogy is employed that is several or more orders of dimension lesser than the phenomenon it represents, knowledge/understanding/insight is subtracted rather than added.”

              https://yournz.org/2017/12/30/new-generation-government-ending-failed-neo-liberalism/#comment-242614

            • Corky

               /  January 26, 2018

              ”Pseudophilosophical point .”

              Correct.

            • PartisanZ

               /  January 26, 2018

              @Corky – “The name of the game is to stop it crashing to earth with a jarring thud.”

              What an extraordinary and revealing thing to say Corky. It is teetering then, as many of us suspect?

              Totally supports my ‘fingers in the dyke’, taxpayer “buttressing”, false-economy ‘propping-up’ of neoliberalism theory … what others refer to as “privatize the profits, socialize the losses” …

              You are rather “letting the side down” admitting it though, aren’t you?

              Yes, yes, all the complexities of human life can be summed up in two words for the ends of a see-saw, Right? “Supply” and “Demand” …

              Now THAT is magical thinking …

            • Corky

               /  January 26, 2018

              Oh, boy. From my original post:

              ” It will rarely be perfectly aligned horizontally. ”

              Like you say:

              ”As though the complexities of national & international economics were binary equations …”

              Quite correct. The economy is the balancing act as you hint at. There is usually problems no matter how good an economy is. Hence, a see-saw. Hence, never having all factors of an economy being in perfect harmony.

              Nothing magical about it.

            • PartisanZ

               /  January 26, 2018

              They could be in perfect harmony if they were aligned with natural ethics.

              However, the consequent humanizing of ‘valuation & exchange’ would have to be called something different … perhaps eco-nomics or ergo-nomics … or ethiconomics – new word # 133 …

              Ethiconomics would probably be almost the opposite of present-day economics.

              It will attempt to launch people onto the higher levels of Maslow’s hierarchy of needs – love/belonging, esteem and self-actualization – rather than purposely, manipulatively and insidiously trapping them in the bottom two – physiological and safety – and would make the education NZ Initiative pays lip-service to an absolute priority … including human relationships, ethics and civics …

              The pseudo-science of ‘economics’ is a sure-fire indicator we are living in a contemporary Dark Ages

            • PartisanZ

               /  January 26, 2018

              … and these very real possibilities of ethiconomics are THE sure-fire reason why conservatives are so terrified of ideas like Universal Basic Income, Social Security, Social Well Fair … community cooperation … unions … etc etc …

  3. Blazer

     /  January 26, 2018

    whistle..while..you..work.

  4. George

     /  January 26, 2018

    Labour are paying the price for kicking the unions man out and installing Cindy.
    This does not bode well for the unemployment figures

    • PartisanZ

       /  January 26, 2018

      Apparently Winston called at least some of the shots on this one …

      It will be interesting to see what if any affect it has on unemployment, given there are so many other factors which influence it …

      One significant factor IMHO is the *attitude* of the Right … as displayed above … and their propensity to project it …

      • Kitty Catkin

         /  January 26, 2018

        And this be law I will maintain until my dying day, sir.
        That what may be with MMP, an MP I will stay, sir.