Bridges versus Ardern: “in hot pursuit of murderers”

A shock in question time in Parliament – while grilling Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern today, Leader of the Opposition Simon Bridges appeared to think on his feet and ask an off-the-cuff non-scripted question. It even raised a few laughs across the house.

Hon Simon Bridges: Why will union representatives not be required to gain consent from an employer before entering the premises of their workplace when even a police officer has to ask a judge for a warrant?

Rt Hon JACINDA ARDERN: As I pointed out in my last answer, if there are health and safety obligations that require them to do so, then they would. Again, I come back to this issue that these are changes that existed, in many cases in this omnibus bill, right up until 2015. These are changes that allow employees to have a voice, to be well represented in the workplace, and I’m surprised that the member considers that this is going to have such a dire impact on the economy.

Rt Hon Winston Peters: Using the member’s previous question, does a policeman in hot pursuit of a highly suspected murderer inside an office situation have to spend all the time to go and ask a judge for a warrant to pick that person up?

Mr SPEAKER: Order! Order! I had called order before, but I think we’ll just leave it there.

Hon Simon Bridges: Can the Minister confirm that we are giving unions the powers that we give police officers when they’re in hot pursuit of murderers?

While Ardern avoided answering that directly, apparently not.

Draft transcript:


1. Hon SIMON BRIDGES (Leader of the Opposition) to the Prime Minister: Does she stand by all her Government’s statements and actions?

Rt Hon JACINDA ARDERN (Prime Minister): Yes.

Hon Simon Bridges: When she was asked whether proposed employment law changes would allow a union representative to enter the property of a business without the business’ permission, does she stand by her answer “only if the person in question they are visiting is a member of the union.”?

Rt Hon JACINDA ARDERN: I’m glad the member’s asked that question again; it gives me a chance to clarify. The example that he gave related to farmhouses, and I know that section 19 of the Act and the proposal that is included in this bill specifically precludes going into a dwelling, which means that the example that the member used would not have been accurate. So thank you for the opportunity to clarify.

Hon Simon Bridges: Can she confirm that the Government’s changes actually give the power to union representatives to enter the premises of a business without their permission, even if there are no union members on site, so that unions can recruit new members or distribute the union information?

Rt Hon JACINDA ARDERN: The first principle I want to point out is that this legislation that is before Parliament at present, essentially, brings back employment legislation that existed right up until 2015 in some cases, and I have to say that unless the member is now saying that there was a dire economic situation for the six years his Government was last in as a consequence of that legislation, then that’s for him to argue. We personally do not believe that this is the case with these changes. To come back to the question that the member raised, for the purposes of perhaps signing up directly a union member, which is quite a specific circumstance, then that would be the case. But, again, I point out that section 21 of the Act means that the union official has to comply with all reasonable health and safety and security procedures and must access the workplace in a reasonable way, having regard to normal business operations in the workplace. There are plenty of protections in place.

Hon Simon Bridges: Has she seen comments by the Minister for Workplace Relations and Safety in relation to her answers in the House last week: “If the National Party really wanted to debate the detail of the bill, they would be asking me questions, because it is my responsibility to understand the detail of this legislation. They should be talking to me, not trying to catch the Prime Minister off guard.”, and, if so, does she agree with her Minister that she was caught off guard?

Rt Hon JACINDA ARDERN: I know the point that the Minister was making was that if this was such a significant issue for the economy, why has the spokesperson not asked the Minister directly about this issue?

Hon Simon Bridges: Does she think it’s her responsibility to know the detail of a policy that business says is their number one concern with her Government?

Rt Hon JACINDA ARDERN: As much as it is the Opposition leader’s responsibility to know that a union official can’t enter a farmhouse.

Hon Simon Bridges: To be really clear: can the Prime Minister confirm that under the Government’s proposed employment law changes, a union representative will be able to enter the premises of a business without permission from that business?

Rt Hon JACINDA ARDERN: The person in question has to comply with the rules and obligations of that workplace, including the health and safety obligations. So if that means reporting in at the gate because there are health and safety obligations, then they must comply with that law.

Hon Simon Bridges: Why will union representatives not be required to gain consent from an employer before entering the premises of their workplace when even a police officer has to ask a judge for a warrant?

Rt Hon JACINDA ARDERN: As I pointed out in my last answer, if there are health and safety obligations that require them to do so, then they would. Again, I come back to this issue that these are changes that existed, in many cases in this omnibus bill, right up until 2015. These are changes that allow employees to have a voice, to be well represented in the workplace, and I’m surprised that the member considers that this is going to have such a dire impact on the economy.

Rt Hon Winston Peters: Using the member’s previous question, does a policeman in hot pursuit of a highly suspected murderer inside an office situation have to spend all the time to go and ask a judge for a warrant to pick that person up?

Mr SPEAKER: Order! Order! I had called order before, but I think we’ll just leave it there.

Hon Simon Bridges: Can the Minister confirm that we are giving unions the powers that we give police officers when they’re in hot pursuit of murderers?

Rt Hon JACINDA ARDERN: The point that the Deputy Prime Minister was making was that the member is being alarmist and dramatic.

Hon Simon Bridges: Can she confirm that under the Government’s proposed employment law changes, businesses owners will now have to pay workers for time spent undertaking union activities?

Rt Hon JACINDA ARDERN: Yes, in the same way that they have to, under the legislation, also allow them to have rest and meal breaks.

Hon Simon Bridges: So, to be clear, can she confirm that under the Government’s proposed employment law changes, businesses will now be responsible for funding union activities while workers should otherwise be doing their job?

Rt Hon JACINDA ARDERN: I would encourage the member to have a long conversation with the likes of Air New Zealand, where, through their framework of working collectively with their employees, they have improved the productivity, the health and safety, and they have a high-performance workplace. Unlike the member, I don’t believe that excluding employees is the way to become a productive company in a productive country.

Hon Simon Bridges: Will the law changes make private businesses responsible for undertaking and funding union membership drives?

Rt Hon JACINDA ARDERN: Again, as I say, this is legislation that existed under the last Government, and at that point—unless they’re starting to argue that under the first six years of their reign the economy tanked, they might want to change to a new line of questioning, because we on this side of the House believe it’s possible to empower employees to have a voice in the workplace and it won’t endanger business or the economy.

24 Comments

  1. robertguyton

     /  August 14, 2018

    “Simon Bridges appeared to think on his feet”
    First time! Probably and accident.

    • Kitty Catkin

       /  August 14, 2018

      Spiteful and untrue.

      • robertguyton

         /  August 14, 2018

        It was so unusual that Pete dedicate an entire post to it. I don’t think he meant to sound spiteful at all, but yes, we were all taken-aback! Perhaps his deputy whispered in his ear, “Say this , Simon!”

        • Gezza

           /  August 14, 2018

          Don’t be silly.

        • Kitty Catkin

           /  August 15, 2018

          HE didn’t, which is why I put the comment under yours which did sound spiteful, untrue and witless. Hat trick.

    • Alan Wilkinson

       /  August 14, 2018

      He was a prosecution lawyer I think so should be able to do so.

    • Corky

       /  August 14, 2018

      The thought of losing a perk job clears the mind and the sinuses. That enables clear thinking.

    • Trevors_elbow

       /  August 15, 2018

      Oh look its a Green engaging respectfully. /sarc

      Another Green ‘principle’ abandoned at Robert like selling out to NZF over the Waka Jumping bill

  2. Blazer

     /  August 14, 2018

    how can Police ever be in ‘hot pursuit of murderers’?

    • Alan Wilkinson

       /  August 14, 2018

      Ask Winston. He might suggest terrorists.

    • Gezza

       /  August 14, 2018

      Why not? If they are looking for one who’s armed and dangerous (like a one-armed bandit) and get word of where they are – they’d be off like a rocket !

      Come on Blazer. I’ll give credit to Andy sometimes. Give ol’ Simon a tick for managing to crack a half-decent joke – that’s a first for him I think.

  3. Gerrit

     /  August 14, 2018

    So even if the workers say “bugger off” to the union, they (the union) can camp at an employers to badger the workers? Bringing production to a halt?

    “Rt Hon JACINDA ARDERN: Yes, in the same way that they have to, under the legislation, also allow them to have rest and meal breaks.”

    There are reasonable time frames and limits on rest and meal breaks, prescribed by negotiated agreements.

    Pity Bridges did not think fast enough to ask if unions will have a set time frame to conduct their business.

    Why does Winston get to chip in on the oral questions asked of the PM? Is that normal or is Mallard allowing this?

    • Gezza

       /  August 14, 2018

      Winston often chips in to ask questions. Most frequently his questions are the smart-arse variety & are immediately ruled out of order – although sometimes a Minister will give a smart-arse answer back and Speaker Trev will rule “that’s one each” & let it go & suggest they move on.

    • Gezza

       /  August 14, 2018

      Government MP’s including Ministers do seem to be allowed to ask supplementary questions. I imagine they count towards their allocation which in the government’s case may not all be taken up. Patsy questions don’t usually contain as many supplementaries from my observations when I watch QT live.

      https://www.parliament.nz/en/visit-and-learn/how-parliament-works/fact-sheets/delving-deeper-supplementary-questions/

    • lurcher1948

       /  August 14, 2018

      Its the end of times,workers having right’s

      • Gerrit

         /  August 15, 2018

        and employers the money to create workers jobs…the secret is to keep both parties happy to pay the taxes to keep the state technocrats afloat

        • Blazer

           /  August 15, 2018

          ‘ employers the money to create workers jobs’….the step before that….’bankers create money out of nothing’…what a marvellous gift,they deserve to because….???

          • Gerrit

             /  August 15, 2018

            So will we see the state owned KiwiBank become what is the better publicly owned banking system as used in North Dakota?

            Does the CoL have the gumption, willpower and expertise to overcome the the bankers cartel?

            Worth a read.

            https://www.alternet.org/corporate-accountability-and-workplace/why-socialism-doing-so-darn-well-deep-red-north-dakota

            • Blazer

               /  August 15, 2018

              the Col members have to desire to exit this world…early.
              The Bank of Nth Dakota is…tolerated because it was meant to..fail.

            • Blazer

               /  August 15, 2018

              great link btw.Hope the hamsters read ..it.

            • Gerrit

               /  August 15, 2018

              Normally against state control but the social democrat in me likes the state bank idea as the control of credit is too important to be left to the rapacious private banks.

              Simply because of this

              “Clearly, from Wall Street’s perspective, the North Dakota bank must go, and all other state efforts to replicate it must be thwarted. Wall Street’s stealth weapon may be lodged within the latest corporate trade agreement called the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP), which currently is being negotiated in secret. We already know that Wall Street is seeking to remove all tariff restrictions that prevent the U.S. financial services industry from doing business in countries like Brunei, Chile, Malaysia, Mexico, New Zealand, Peru, Singapore and Vietnam. The biggest banks also want the treaty to eliminate “non-tariff” barriers including regulations that create “unfair” competition with state-owned financial enterprises.”

              and

              “Depending on the final language, it is possible that the activities of the Bank of North Dakota could be ruled illegal because “foreign bankers could claim the BND stops them from lending to commercial banks throughout the state,” according to an analysis by Sam Knight in Truthout. How perfect for Wall Street: a foreign bank can be used as a shill to knock out the BND.”

              Maybe Jane Kelsey might be right?

            • Blazer

               /  August 15, 2018

              Researching the banking cartels and how they operate you come to the conclusion that their control is disasterous for people all around the world.
              Dialing interest rates up and down,forex rate manipulation,rigging rates,money laundering,controlling money supply ,starting wars,imposing sanctions,owning politicians,directing media…all to maintain a charade of freedom and aspiratiion that benefits the…few.

  4. Blazer

     /  August 16, 2018

    Aussie Banks M.O…’In April, CBA admitted to charging fees to clients it knew had died years previously.’

    ‘Between 2012 and 2015, CBA failed to report more than 53,000 suspicious transactions using its ATMs to authorities on time. Drug gangs laundered money by taking advantage of a loophole that allowed for large, anonymous deposits to CBA accounts, Austrac said.’

    tip of the iceberg.

  1. Bridges versus Ardern: “in hot pursuit of murderers” — Your NZ – NZ Conservative Coalition