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If the New Zealand economy is to grow sustainably over time, and thereby deliver the social and fiscal dividend we seek, employers need skilled, dedicated, and flexible staff, whilst employees require stability in employment and appropriate conditions and remuneration.

Lifting workers' productivity is identified as the key to improving New Zealand's international rankings.

The level of New Zealand’s unemployed is masked by illusory criteria which say that even one hour’s work per week means employment. This must be replaced by sound criteria measurements.

An ideal industrial relations environment is one based on fairness, flexibility, and neutrality between the parties.

New Zealand First will make it a priority to review all industrial relations law to ensure it is consistent with the preceding statement. Employment of New Zealanders wishing to work is our first priority.

It is a government policy failure that New Zealand has a skills shortage in various occupations/professions and is currently offshore actively recruiting to fill these vacancies. New Zealand should be training its own people in these areas.

The upskilling of New Zealanders and improving both wages and productivity are major planning objectives. Our vision is of a nation made up of well educated, determined, healthy, and innovative people, with an expanding business programme geared around exports, regional development, job growth and harnessing the natural attributes of the country.

Addressing employment issues requires a collaborative effort between government, business and labour organisations. Essentially employment creation is dependent upon wealth creation and a system which efficiently distributes that wealth. New Zealand is primarily a nation of small and medium size businesses. Job and wealth creation are dependent upon these enterprises thriving.

Despite the Christchurch rebuild there is a massive waste of New Zealand talent and ability with around 150,000 unemployed. New Zealand First has a range of economic policies designed to build the economic base and create jobs. For example, export and employment objectives will be added to Reserve Bank targets. Those policies are outlined in the Economic Policy section of this document.

New Zealand First will give priority for New Zealand jobs to New Zealand workers by a tight immigration policy. It is the reflection on policy failure that New Zealand is currently offshore actively recruiting trades people for the Christchurch rebuild. New Zealand should be training its own people as a priority.

New Zealand First will:

  • Raise the minimum wage, to $20 per hour in the first instance.
  • Review and amend employment laws to ensure that casualization employment practices are fair and just to all parties and work to achieve better job security for individuals now employed on a permanent ‘casual’ basis. Disputes emerging over this practice would be referred to arbitration.
  • Review the practice of short term employment contracts.
  • Allocate sufficient resources so that there is greater emphasis on training (small employers/new entrants to workforce) and WorkSafe NZ inspections;
  • Require that salaries paid beyond accepted public service bands be cleared with stakeholder ministers in a transparent manner.
  • Introduce a new system of subsidizing wages for employers who take on young, unemployed people for trade training and skills programmes. Initially the young person would be assessed for literacy and numeracy skills. These would be included as part of the training package including money from the Job Seeker support benefit for 12 months.  

INDUSTRIAL RELATIONS

For the New Zealand economy to grow sustainably and deliver the social and economic outcomes we desire, employers need skilled, dedicated, and flexible staff, whilst employees require job stability, safe working conditions and appropriate remuneration.

New Zealand First is committed to promoting an industrial relations environment based on fairness, flexibility and neutrality between the parties.
 
New Zealand First will:

  • Raise the minimum wage to $20 per hour.
  • Change laws that allow individuals to be employed on a permanent ‘casual’ basis.
  • Train New Zealanders in areas of skill shortages, instead of actively recruiting offshore.
  • Ensure that hiring New Zealanders is a priority.
  • Abolish the ‘starting out wage’ for young people.
  • Incentivise skilled New Zealanders to stay and work in New Zealand.
  • Ensure enough workers are being trained in the area of aged care to cope with New Zealand’s ageing population.

Clayton Mitchell on this policy

"The upskilling of New Zealanders and improving both wages and productivity are major planning objectives. Our vision is of a nation made up of well educated, determined, healthy, and innovative people, with an expanding business programme geared around exports, regional development, job growth and harnessing the natural attributes of the country."