Opt in should be rule for any deductions


UK Prime Minister David Cameron is proposing a law change which could drastically reduce Labour Party funds:

. . . After leading the Tory Party to its first majority for 23 years, Mr Cameron unveiled legislation that could see donations to Labour fall by tens of millions of pounds every year.

In a surprise move the Conservatives introduced a new law to reform the way union activists pay a “political levy” to Labour.

Under the Conservative plans, union members will have to opt-in to paying an annual amount to Labour, rather than opting out as at present.

It will dramatically reduce Labour’s funding from the unions and would significantly hamper the party’s ability to fight general elections.

In Northern Ireland, which has an opt-in system, fewer than 40 per cent of union members chose to pay into political fund. Under the current system in the rest of the UK just 8.8 per cent of union members opt out. . .

It’s a long time since I paid any union dues. Back then membership was compulsory and I have no memory of being asked my views on the union donating to any political party.

Now that union membership is voluntary does anyone know if union deductions here are opt in or opt out and how much say members have on donations from the unions to political parties?

This move may well be politically motivated but it is based on an important principle. The rule for any deductions from people’s pay should be opt in not opt out, except those like tax, child support and fines which are mandatory.

The opt-in rule should apply not only to deductions from pay but to any add-ons to purchases, for example insurance or other extras when you book travel, too.

Hat tip: Tim Worstall

Will unions let Cunliffe lead Labour back from left?


Both Matthew Hooton and Fran O’Sullivan think Cunliffe is trying to lead Labour back from its lurch to the left.

That would be a sensible move because the swinging votes are in the centre and many of those voters are strongly averse to the thought of Labour’s leftwards lurch and it being dragged even further left by its potential coalition partners.

But Labour is beholden to unions for money and people power, and Cunliffe is beholden to them for his leadership.

They won’t be keen on more centrist policies.

In the print edition of the NBR Michael Coote writes:

. . . The phony war raging around David Cunliffe’s leadership of Labour overlooks that the trades union movement has reassumed a decisive role in selecting the head of the party’s parliamentary wing.

Mr Cunliffe is the choice of the unions, Labour’s primary funding source.

If Labour’s predominantly bourgeois parliamentary wing defenestrated its born-again proletarian Mr Cunliffe, its unionist bankrollers could simply cut off the cashflow and let the class traitors turn on the gallows. . .

Even if Cunliffe did manage to lead a lurch back to the centre how long could he hold that position if he was leading a government beholden to the Green, Internet and Mana parties?

They are full of radical left-wingers who will exert every bit of bargaining power they have to implement their hard left economic, environmental and social agendas.

Buying access


Tamaki MP Simon O’Connor points out the integral part unions play in the Labour Party put it on very shaky ground when it criticises National’s fund-raising activities.

We have been hearing a lot from the Opposition members today around “Cabinet clubs” and their great concern about what might somewhat transparently be happening in the Government over here. Well, I have been fascinated, as they have talked about money and influence and access, to think about what is the world’s largest “Cabinet club”. Ladies and gentlemen, the largest “Cabinet club” of money and influence and access is the unions—the unions that behold that crowd opposite every day. Do you know what makes it worse? Do you know what makes it even worse? The constitution and structure of the New Zealand Labour Party allows the unions—the unions of New Zealand—to decide who the Labour Party leader is, and, God forbid, who could be a Labour Prime Minister. That is buying access. Do you know what makes it even worse? Even worse is that the unions are taking the money from the pockets of hard-working New Zealanders, particularly in the civil service. I remember it well. They take money from hard-working Kiwis, push it on to their union hacks, and then pass it on to the hacks who sit on the other side of this House. . .


. . .  I will not continue on this line of vitriol per se, but I think the reminder is there: if the party opposite wants to talk about money and it wants to talk about access and it wants to talk about influence, then it must begin and end with a conversation about the Labour Party and the role of the unions. I go back to that other point that it is money taken from hard-working, ordinary Kiwis, channelled through the system. Once again, you see it in the constitution of the Labour Party, which gives effective majority control to the unions to decide the leadership. That is just shocking. . .

Unions get more voting power in Labour than individual members.

They give money to the party and get more than access and influence. They get policy wins in return, and in Labour’s last term they also got public money.


Cunliffe wins leadership but not caucus


David Cunliffe is Labour’s new leader.

David Cunliffe was elected by a majority in the first round of a preferential three-way Electoral College contest also involving Grant Robertson and Shane Jones. . .

The votes from the caucus, members and unions were:

Caucus 40
Cunliffe, David 32.35% 47.06% 18.82%

Jones, Shane 20.59%

Party 40

Cunliffe, David 60.14% 67.79% 27.11%

Jones, Shane 13.15%

Robertson, Grant 26.71% 32.21% 12.89%

Affiliates 20 Cunliffe, David 70.77% 78.01% 15.60%

Jones, Shane 11.92%

Robertson, Grant 17.30% 21.99% 4.40%

Final result

Round 1

Cunliffe, David 51.15%

Jones, Shane 15.88%

Robertson, Grant 32.97%

Robertson, Grant 47.06% 52.94% 21.18%

Cunliffe won on the first round, albeit with 51.5% of the vote.

However, he got only 32.5% of first preference votes from his caucus colleagues and 47.06 of their second preferences.

He’s won the leadership with only minority support from his caucus colleagues  – 11 of 34 giving him first preference – in spite of strong indications that members and unions were backing him.

Winning the leadership might have been the easy bit, getting his caucus colleagues on side will be his next and bigger challenge.

How democratic is Labour’s selection process?


Labour’s change of rules for leadership contests gives 40% weighting to its caucus, 40% to members and 20% to affiliated unions.

Tim Barnett was interviewed on the radio on Friday and said he’d have two votes – one as a party member and one as a union member.

One man two votes – how democratic is that?

If the caucus and members are evenly divided over different candidates, the one the unions back will win.

How democratic is that?Regardless of the vote, the leader isn’t very secure.The NBR gave a lay guide to Labour’s rules:

A leadership vote will happen if there is a vacancy for the position, if it is requested by a simple majority of caucus at any time, or if the Leader fails to obtain the support of 60%-plus-one of the Caucus in a confidence vote held within three months of a general election.

That vote will have the 40, 40, 20 split between caucus, members and unions.

How democratic is that?

40 + 40 + 20 doesn’t equal unity


The Labour Party changed its rules last year.

The leader is decided by the caucus and the membership and union affiliates – 40%, 40% and 20% respectively.

That might sound reasonable to people within the party, it looks very messy from outside.

The Labour Party likes to think of itself as a broad church but it’s really just a collection of factions who see the party as a vehicle to get their policies enacted.

It’s almost certain there will be at least two candidates, possibly more.

It’s unlikely the caucus will be untied on who would be the best leader, it’s even less likely the membership will agree with each other and caucus.

Try convincing the public that the new leader deserves their support although the party and members didn’t agree on him ( at this stage there is no obvious her as a candidate) and union delegates had the casting votes.

One of David’s Shearer’s problems was his inability to unite his caucus and his party.

Winning the leadership could well be the easy bit for the new leader.

Internal unity will be the next hurdle and he will have less than two months to do that before the party conference where members may well wish to re-visit the man-ban.

How much do taxpayers subsidise unions?


In Britain taxpayers provided subsidies of at least  £113 million to unions:

The value of this subsidy has been exposed in the most extensive survey of national and local government ever carried out by the TPA. It shows that trade unions received an estimated £92 million in paid staff time (facility time) plus £21 million in direct payments in 2011-12. The research also demonstrates for the first time that public bodies are often deducting trade union subscriptions in the payroll process without charging the unions for that additional administrative support, despite union claims to the contrary. . .

It is compulsory here for all employers to collect union fees.

That will incur a cost which adds to overheads.

A remit from Young Nationals seeking the repeal of that legislation was passed unanimously at this year’s National Party conference.

I don’t think it has made its way to the government agenda yet.

What other subsidies do employers in general and taxpayers provide to unions here?

Is that fair and reasonable or is there more scope for change, especially when some unions have political affiliations and will soon gain 20% of the vote for the Labour leader under proposed changes to the party’s rule?

Unions rule not OK


The Labour Party has agreed to constitutional changes which give unions even more power over it:

. . . Labour will adopt a similar approach to its international counterparts of an “electoral college” in which the MPs, party members and unions all get to vote.

For NZ Labour, that split will give 40 per cent of the vote to MPs, 40 per cent to members and 20 per cent to the trade union affiliates. . .

Trans Tasman points out:

. . . Labour and the teacher unions are largely the same body (and the change in the party’s way of voting for a leader announced this week, expanding it to members and to unions, is going to make Labour more, not less, beholden to the country’s school teachers).

How can a party with so little regard for true democracy in its own organisation expect to govern democratically?

Union rule and a constitution which makes some members more equal than others might be okay in the Labour Party but it is not okay for the country.

This isn’t what we want to catch up with


The protracted dispute between Qantas and unions which has led to the grounding of the company’s entire fleet is an example of something we don’t want to catch up with.

No-one wins from action like this.

Travellers are inconvenienced, freight is held up, staff  lose pay and the company loses money and customers.

I wouldn’t go so far as to say something like this couldn’t happen here, but it is less likely to.

Some on the left are under the mistaken impression that stronger unions are one of the reasons that Australia’s economy does better than ours.

On the contrary, it would do even better if they had more flexible employment laws like we do.

Labour policy for losers


Political parties which think they are going to win an election promote policies to attract voters and that they believe will be beneficial if implemented in government.

Political parties which think they are going to lose elections promote policies to lock in their core supporters.

Labour’s work and wages policy is one for losers.

The Otago Daily Times said legislating for higher wages is counter-productive:

That is because basic economics means money has to be earned. Printing money  . . . or forcing businesses to pay staff more cannot lead, long term, to either more jobs or higher wages.   

The bottom line is New Zealand and New Zealand businesses, in a highly competitive world, have to be profitable. It is they and, particularly the taxes paid by the staff they employ, that earn the money to support public servants, benefits and public services.   

This fundamental truth has been fudged in the West for years, and we are all beginning to pay the price.  Greece exemplifies the fool’s paradise.   

Inefficiencies and dislocation from economic rules have placed that nation on the brink of defaulting on its debts.  In essence, what applies to individuals applies to nations.  Everybody and every country has to earn their living.   

Thus, the productive sector must be fostered rather than hindered, a matter most obvious in export businesses. 

The Press says: it’s very unlikely the policy will boost economic performance and provide a better future for workers:

The policy’s strange mish-mash of bureaucratic centralised wage-setting, legislated higher minimum pay and repeal of some of the present Government’s liberalising workplace reforms has gruesome echoes of the unlovely 1970s. Far from being a forward-looking policy, as the Labour leader, Phil Goff, has declared it to be, it recalls policies long thought dead and buried. . .

According to Goff, the policy would help stem the flow of people to Australia. Given that the effect of much of it would be to price some jobs out of existence, quite how it would do this is unclear. Labour still does not appear to understand that it cannot legislate its way to prosperity. Introducing impediments to the creation of jobs or raising wages by legislative or administrative order will do nothing to close the wage gap with Australia and will, if anything, see more workers decamping for greener pastures elsewhere.

The Dominion Post says the policy is out of touch:

The consequence of hiking the minimum wage from $13 to $15 an hour, as Labour is proposing to do, will be to deny more unskilled young job seekers the opportunity to get a foot on the job ladder. The consequence of telling international film producers it is our way or the highway will be for them to pack their bags. And the consequence of requiring all employers in an industry to offer the same minimum set of terms and conditions will be to ship more jobs off overseas.

The only winners from Labour’s work and wages policy, unveiled on Tuesday, will be unions, which can expect a temporary increase in members and influence.

The NZ Herald says the policy revives the bad old days:

It will not be easy to take the Labour Party seriously at this election if it comes up with any more policy like the one announced on Tuesday. . .

The Labour Party would surely hesitate to propose this if there was much prospect of the party winning the election and having to put the policy into effect. Like one or two other planks in the party’s platform this year – notably the removal of GST on fresh fruit and vegetables – the policy is mainly interesting for what it says about Labour’s condition at present and how much younger members of the caucus have to learn.

This is a policy which would hinder the businesses which provide and create jobs. It’s a misguided attempt by a party trying to legislate its way to prosperity. It would help only unions and would not be considered if the party thought it had much prospect of putting it into effect.

The papers have given a concerted damning and deserved thumbs down to policy which would impose bureaucracy and cost on businesses at the expense of them and their employees.

It is not policy for workers.

It’s policy for losers and the unions on whose might and money they depend.

Good for unions bad for employees/ers


Labour’s work and wages policy takes employment relations back decades.

Over at Keeping Stock, Inventory 2 puts a very strong case against raising the minimum wage to $15.

None of our employees is on the minimum wage but, as I2 says, increasing it will put pressure on other wages.

It’s a policy which will discourage the employment of the young, unskilled and inexperienced, as will ending the 90 day trial period for new employees.

We employed a manager earlier in the year. She came well recommended but we had some reservations about how well she’d cope with the job. She agreed to a 90-day-trial period, proved herself and we confirmed the position as permanent.

Had we not been able to give her a trial we wouldn’t have employed her.

The policy also includes Industry Standard Agreements which will take us back 50 years.

We don’t need backward looking policies like the one today on industrial relations from the Labour Party, says Kim Campbell, chief executive of the Employers’ and Manufacturers’ Association.

“The Industry Standard Agreements policy is a one size fits all approach that would take us back to 1960’s,” Mr Campbell said.

“People sitting in Wellington can’t decide what’s good for businesses and their employees in Invercargill and Kaitaia. It simply doesn’t work.

“Business wants to work to build an exciting future for all New Zealanders and we all want to get on with it.

“We want to focus on increasing productivity and attracting more investment to lift our business performance.

“But no matter how its dressed up this policy takes us back to system of national awards and it would undermine all the progress made towards flexible workplaces. . .

Kiwiblog has a graph of stoppages and work days lost to strikes which illustrates the danger of returnign to the bad old days.

The policy is pay-back for the financial support unions give the party.

It might be good for unions but it will increase costs without increasing productivity which will be bad for employees and employers.

Unions losing power in Labour


A Labour leader is biting the union hand that elected him but it’s in Britain, not here.

In the Pensions War that has erupted between the government and the trade unions, the unions must surely feel astonished by the ingratitude of Ed Miliband. The unions founded and financed the Labour party. They currently give about £9 of every £10 that the cash-strapped party receives in donations. Moreover, Ed Miliband would not be Labour leader had he not had crucial union support. Yet here we are, at the beginning of the first serious confrontation between unions and the coalition, and Mr Miliband declines to back them and instead attacks strike action as “wrong”.

It’s difficult to understand how any party which preaches democracy can give more power and influence to unions than its individual members.

Labour here is quick to criticise National of legislating for its mates if it does anything which might help businesses. Some businesses donate to National but only members have power in the party and most of the bigger ones donate to Labour and possibly some of the minor parties as well.

Some unions donate to other left wing parties, but it would be a cold day in hell before they gave money to National and I think it’s only in Labour where they have constitutional rights.

The internal workings of a party are the party’s own business. But if influence and policy in return for money is wrong for donors to right wing parties, it must also be wrong for left wing ones.

. . . Mr Miliband . . . also wants to recalibrate the relationship between Labour and the unions as a key element of his project to make the party more democratic, vigorous and engaged with the public. . .

The unions wield 50% of the vote at the party conference, a proportion that Mr Miliband thinks might be diminished by creating a new voting role at the conference for the elected members of the National Policy Forum.

The British Labour Party is attempting to reduce the power unions have in their party to make it  more democratic. What chance is there of Labour here doing the same?


The bad old days


Jamie Mackay introduced last Thursday’s Farming Show with a reminder it was the anniversary New Zealand’s bloodiest farming protest (from 4:31).

June 9, 1978 was the day 250 farmers frustrated by on-going strikes at the freezing works drove 1500 sheep into the main street of Invercargill and slaughtered them.

Those were the bad old days when unions ruled and the rest of us paid for it in frustration, inconvenience and lost productivity, wages and opportunity.

My father had retired by 1978 but he’d been a carpenter at the freezing works. As a tradesman he was usually able to continue working when the freezing workers struck but he used to come home with stories about the stupidity of many of the strikes, called for little on no reason, sometimes over an issue somewhere else.

They had a propensity to call strikes at the most inconvenient time when stock were prime or feed was short and delays were costly in both financial and animal welfare terms.

Repeated strikes weren’t peculiar to the freezing industry, but on the wharves, railways, ferries and anywhere else where unions held sway.

Changes to employment law in the 1990s by National curtailed much of the union silliness. Labour reversed some of the changes, giving more power to unions which isn’t always to the benefit of workers.

Unions aren’t all bad. Businesses with large workforces often prefer to deal with one bargaining agent than lots of individuals. Unions can often achieve more for workers collectively than they’d be able to get for themselves individually; they can be a strong advocate for a worker with a grievance and they can bring about improvements in workplace safety and conditions.

But their actions sometimes appear to be more about flexing union muscle than doing what’s in the best interests of their members. Prolonged strikes are an example of that when wages lost through time off end up costing more than the wage rise over which a strike is called.

National has moved the employment pendulum back towards the centre with improvements to the law since 2008 and is now intimating it will campaign on making more progress:

Prime Minister John Key has indicated National will campaign on further changes to labour laws – and will not rule out reinstating a youth minimum wage or changes to collective bargaining.

At the Seafood Industry Council conference yesterday, Mr Key said making the labour market more flexible was a priority as the economy began to grow and National intended to unveil further changes in the election campaign.

There is debate about youth rates but there is no doubt that youth unemployment has gone up much more than that for other ages since youth rates were removed.

Offsetting Behaviour has several posts on the issue including youth rates revisited with graphs which clearly show youth unemployment has been worse than general unemployment since the removal of youth rates. Check My Sources explians how young workers are being priced out of the labour market.

In an interview with Sean Plunket on The Nation yesterday John Key said:

We know that there are people that are 18 years of age on an unemployment benefit and I think as a country most of us would sit around and say that’s crazy, they should be in work, they should be in training, or they should be back at school.

It would be much easier for young people to get work if employers weren’t forced to pay them the same rates as they pay more mature workers.

A little more flexibility in labour relations which won’t be welcomed by unions but will be better for employers and their staff would also be welcome.

We’ve come a long way from the bad old days when unions held the country to ransom but there’s still room for improvement.

Quote of the week


 Labour believed  it could puncture the Govt’s poll ratings by focusing on cost-of-living issues, underlining its portrayal of John Key as being “out-of-touch,” reinforced by headlines of unrest drummed up by unions going on strike.
But it all fell apart in the wake of union bully-boy tactics, conjuring up memories of the era when NZ was ruled by industrial strife. Instead of a new face, Labour has reverted to its old unreconstructed image. The Govt meanwhile can claim it has been successful in cushioning the impact of the recession, not only on households, but on business and labour.

In particular latest indicators on wage movements, with private sector pay rates moving up 0.6% in the September quarter, suggest there is less slack in the labour market than might have been expected at this point in the cycle. The impact of the commodity boom will start to be increasingly felt as NZ moves into 2011.

The Govt is convinced its policy to transform structural elements of the economy, essentially a 3-to-5-year programme, is well understood by the public. What is unusual about the Key-led coalition is the community sector, which has agitated against the policies of previous National Govts, is constructively engaged with this administration, and, as one sector leader put it, “has never been so settled.”                 

                                          Trans Tasman.

Quote of the week


“. . . Union leaders loved the idea that they were generals leading troops into battle in the great historic conflict between Capital and Labour, their members just wanted to go to work and get paid a decent wage. . .”

Dim Post

We like the 90 day trial


Ever since John Key announced that the 90-day trial period for new employers would be extended to cover all businesses unions have been telling us that’s unfair.

They aren’t reflecting the views of most people:

ONE News asked voters whether they thought the 90-day trial law should be extended to cover all companies every time someone starts a new job. Sixty percent said yes, while just 36% said no. The remainder said they didn’t know, or were unsure.

What the unions fail to understand is that a trial period isn’t just for employers’ sakes.

It helps people get a job and it also helps existing workers.

Having new workers who don’t pull their weight or simply don’t fit in can be really hard on existing staff.

Employers respond to Kelly


Critics of the government’s planned improvements to employment law seem to think that employers in general, and those with bigger workforces in particular, are anti-union.

That may be a valid criticism of a few, but bigger employers usually prefer their staff to be unionised. It’s much easier to deal with a union representing tens or hundreds of workers than it is to negotiate with all those people in small groups of individually.

What employers object to is the sort of  ignorant attack on their integrity made by CTU president  Helen Kelly in her letter to Prime Minister John Key.

As the Employers and Manufacturers Association says in response to Kelly’s letter:

“The Council of Trade Union General Secretary Helen Kelly has gone over the top in bad mouthing employers,” said Alasdair Thompson, EMA’s chief executive.

“The vast majority of employers are fair and decent people as are their employees,” he said.

“Its simply not true that the CTU and other unions are under attack as Ms Kelly claims.

“The changes being proposed by the government conform to international norms and are comparatively mild.

“We say employers should have the right to question a person who consistently takes sick leave on Mondays or pay for them to visit a doctor.

“Since employers are responsible for what happens in the workplace we say it is important that union representatives seek permission when they enter a workplace.

“The anti-employer attitude expressed by Ms Kelly belongs to the early part of the last century and should stay there.

“The overwhelming majority of businesses know their success depends hugely on developing and maintaining excellent working relations between managers and employees.

“And we all know we need far more business success to deliver the jobs and the taxes that will advance our standard of living, and health, education and welfare.”

The existing law made life difficult for the majority of employers who value their staff to deal with the small minority of bad employers.

The proposed changes accept that most employers are fair and give them a little more flexibility in dealing with the minority of employees who aren’t.

It’s in employers’ interest to have a settled and happy workforce and all but a few know that requires them to treat their staff reasonably and fairly.

Employment law changes neither anti-worker nor anti-union


Dear Helen Kelly,

Re: the  letter you wrote to Prime Minister John Key:

On the issues – we oppose them. They show a disregard for the working people of this country. They paint a picture of workers as lazy, untrustworthy skivers, that are out of control and need to be disciplined. Workers are painted as acting deceitfully when applying for positions (so 90 days are important) taking sickies, misusing union membership and a range of other generalisations that demean the people we work with every day. Employers on the other hand are painted as generally fair minded people that will use all powers reasonably.

On the contrary, the proposed changes are a mild rebalancing of employment law which paints a picture of employers as slave-driving, untrustworthy bullies who are out of control and need to be disciplined. Employers are painted as acting deceitfully when employing people (the 90 days trial for smaller businesses hasn’t been the disaster you and other unions feared), who will demand sick-notes for every absence, hate unions and a range of other generalisations that demean the people who work hard to provide jobs for people every day. Employees on the other hand are painted as generally fair minded people who will use all rights reasonably.

Apart from the slur on working people this analysis disregards the fact that many employers are not “fair minded individuals” but corporate entities that employ CEOs and managers to maximise profit.

Apart from the slur on employers this analysis disregards the fact that the majority (I think it’s 90%) of New Zealand businesses are small to medium enterprises employing fewer than 10 people. Maximising profits is sensible practice which makes the business and jobs more secure and enables employers to offer improved pay and conditions for staff.

 We work with global corporate entities in this country who comply with a wide range of minimum standards and regulations which make their work practices decent here. These same corporates work in unregulated economies employing people under atrocious conditions.

Ms Kelly, you can’t use employment law in New Zealand to fight the global war on capitalism.

You might however, try to understand to see that the measures the government is proposing help employers take on new workers and make workplaces better for existing staff who suffer if another worker doesn’t fit in or work well.

You might also admit that unrestricted access to workplaces has been abused by some union representatives.  The Inquiring Mind has a good example of this.

You may not believe that employers like happy workplaces for their own sake, but surely you can see they have a vested interest in ensuring their workers are happy because that helps productivity.

You however, have a vested interest in unsettling and upsetting workers because that will help you increase membership.

You sound like you’ve come to believe your own rhetoric which has turned a small employer-friendly molehill into a worker and union hating mountain. That’s not good for employers or the people they employ.

Incentives work – but not in eyes of unions


Nick Smith’s contention that experience rating will improve work place safety may seem optimistic, but I think it’s right.

Businesses will receive discounts and loadings on their ACC workplace levies from 1 April next year to provide stronger incentives to improve workplace safety and to make ACC’s levies fairer, ACC Minister Dr Nick Smith announced today.

“New Zealand’s workplace safety does not compare well internationally with more than one worker killed and another 600 injured each week,” Dr Smith said. “The averaged levy system means businesses with good workplace safety are carrying the cost of others that are less safe. This detracts from the incentives for improving safety. The new system of accident experience rating will reward those businesses that have safer work and return to work practices.

No sane employer would have an unsafe workplace because ACC levies those with high and low accident rates the same but employers with good safety records do resent paying to cover those with bad ones.

Incentives work. If employers and employees know that levies will be lower for safer workplaces and those which help injured staff return to work, and higher for those with bad records, they are likely to do more for accident prevention and rehabilitation.

“The proposal is that employers paying more than $10,000 a year in ACC workplace levies will be subject to a discount or loading of up to 50% based on their claims history. This approach will apply to the approximately 5000 employers who employ more than 30 people and involves approximately 690,000 employees or more than 30% of the workforce.

“Experience rating is more difficult for smaller employers so a simple system of no-claims bonuses and high-claim loadings will apply. The proposal is that if no weekly compensation claim has been lodged in the preceding three years, the employer will receive a 10% no-claim bonus on their ACC levies. Penalties will apply where there has been more than four weekly compensation claims in the last three years. An expected 220,000 small businesses will receive a discount under the proposed policy and approximately 1000 will pay a high-claim loading.

You would think unions and the Labour Party, which are supposed to work for workers’ interests, would be pleased with the proposed changes, but no, such is their jaundiced view of employers they think they’ll lead to accident cover-ups.

Macdoctor points out that this is tosh.

Employers are required to report an injury accident within 24 hours. You’d be really stupid to try and cover one up because health professionals also alert ACC when someone comes to them after an accident.

You’d be even stupider to keep a staff member from seeking medical assistance after an accident and if anyone that stupid is probably not adhering to a lot of other workplace regulations.

But ACC charges and employment regulations shouldn’t be based on the tiny minority of bad employers who ignore them anyway.

They should be clear and simple for the majority of employers who know that a safe and happy workplace is good for employees and business.

The proposed changes will give them even more incentive for ensuring staff have a safe environment and follow safe practices and that anyone who is injured is helped back to work as soon as possible.

Why would you want to spend more than you need to?


More than 20 years since we were dragged kicking and screaming into the real world without subsidies but unions, Labour and Green MPs  still don’t get it.

Why would KiwiRail get a New Zealand company to build its new wagons unless it was the best option for the company?

It’s a business, not a charity.

We taxpayers have already wasted millions more than we needed to buying the company, why pour more good money after bad?

If the companies which build wagons can’t compete in that business without subsidies they should put their skills to use in areas where they can be competitive without taxpayer or SOE assistance.

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