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Wellington employment law

  • July 7th, 2008

The PM is now screeching over National’s 90 new employee probationary period, though it’s shorter than international norms.

It will be interesting to see if Annette King and other Wellington Labour candidates join in the screeching. King was once on the less irrational right wing of Labour. She’ll know how much damage the lack of a probationary period has caused to potentially risky employees.

She’ll also know of the dangers to Wellington if Labour’s own announced employment law changes proceed. If contracting and temporary or casual work by New Zealanders is stifled, that vibrant Wellington creative sector will sputter. But the business model will continue, with a change.  Instead of contracts to locals, more contracts will go offshore.

Bangalore will be grateful to the spiteful fools about to lose power in New Zealand.

Indeed, so vulnerable is Wellington’s contractor driven economy, Annette King should consider doing a Hawkins.

George Hawkins has tabled member’s bills to give his electorate special laws (such as on graffiti and glue sniffing). They’ve embodied policies that conflict head on with the direction of 9 years Labour ideology. They also conflict with 40 years of concentrated effort to eliminate local differences in our criminal law. Only the West Coast managed to protect its different rules (and only because Police had to accept that they’d be ineffective if they ignored local custom).

King could now move to exempt Wellington from her colleagues’ pending law to destroy contracting.

She was once an ideological soul-mate of Hawkins (see Bassett’s new book for the background). Hawkins independence has worked for him. It could save King’s reputation.


  • Oliver
  • July 8th, 2008
  • 4:12 am

I’ve repeated my tale around the blogosphere but will do so here again. When I was on my working holiday in Ireland I only got my job because of the probationary period. A foreigner with no industry experience the CEO of a small family business told me that I had 90 days to prove myself. I worked there for six months before leaving to resume my travels. The boss had hired refugees, people with convictions, people with very poor English and mothers re-entering the workforce. He was always able to do this safely thanks to a probationary period. Only the lazy didn’t survive.


That’s a perfect illustration Oliver

  • Georgia
  • July 8th, 2008
  • 3:19 pm

I was a graduate in Arts with no formal journalism training but wanted to work on the local newspaper. Because I was a graduate, the newspaper baulked at the required high grading and pay(union rules). I was given a three month probationary period and the chance to convince the editor I was worth it. I managed to be successful and was moved onto the required high grading and stayed two years. We were all happy.

  • Jim Maclean
  • July 8th, 2008
  • 11:51 pm

Everyone wrestling with bureauracy is well aware that systems which ensure things should be fair will not function in that way. It is simply human nature that the more people involved in a decision the more complicated and the more expensive that decision will become.
With two teenage daughters soon to enter the workforce, I am more than anxious that they should not be taken advantage of by unscrupulous employers, and I know that such exist, but I am convinced that the vast majority of employers will want to keep good employees and that employers right now have valid reasons to fear the hell that poor or even dishonest employees can put them through in the employment court.
Bring on the trial period! The benefits vastly outweigh the dangers.

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