Hekia Parata defends Employment Relations Amendment bill

By Te Kāea

Minister of Education, Hekia Parata has dismissed claims that the Government’s Employment Relations Amendment Bill will impinge on workers’ rights in New Zealand.

Current employment law includes a half hour lunch break and two 10 minute tea breaks and under the likely changes the statutory obligation for tea breaks will be removed, allowing employers and employees to agree on compensatory measures.

The employer’s obligation of collective bargaining will also be removed under the Amendment Bill.

Labour has long been in opposition to the bill and yesterday, Ikaroa Rāwhiti MP Meka Whaitiri called on Iwi Leaders to stand up and fight for workers rights.

Te Rarawa Chair and member of the Iwi Chairs Forum, Haami Piripi says he will raise the issue with the group and try and attempt to find a way forward that will support Māori workers in this process.

However Hekia Parata also called on Iwi Leaders to remember that Māori were not just employees, she outlined that many Māori were also business owners and the overarching reason behind the proposed new legislation was to balance the rights and needs of employees as well as employers. 

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