A Coffee with NZ First
Friday, September 22, 2017
By The Suit
Hey mPloysteers,Firstly, I would like to say thank you to the NZ First party for taking time out of their busy political day, to chat with us.
Here is what they had to say:
A - How do you think the elections are impacting the employment industry?
The 2017 Election has highlighted a dependence by some sectors of New Zealand on imported labour. As at least three of the four major parties are talking about governments and industries responsibility to the New Zealand workforce first some sectors are expressing concern about being able to gain the right skills in workers at the right time so as not to experience disruption to their business plans. As some political parties have indicated a shift in the minimum wage, for example New Zealand First has pledged to lift the minimum wage to $20 per hour over the next 3 years this could also be causing business some concern. New Zealand First recognizes these very real concerns and has balanced this pledge with a tax policy that would see business tax drop to 25% and new export businesses have a tax rate of 20%.
B - What will be your party's main focus be in terms of helping bridge the gap of increasing population & skills shortage? How will you achieve this?
New Zealand First launched its Up Front Investment Tertiary policy in August 2016. This policy includes a full workforce skills planning policy. Business, industry and government departments would be require to do five year workforce skills plans with 20 year projections. These would be facilitated by MBIE. This information would then be passed on to the newly formed and better resourced Careers New Zealand who would match these plans to the vocational pathways. TEC will then fully fund the required places for New Zealanders to be trained in the skills areas required by business and industry. Should we be unable to fill these places with current New Zealanders then migration will be used to fill, in the short term, those skill shortages. If you would like more detail on our Up Front Investment Tertiary policy I would be more than happy to send it.
C - What new initiatives will your party implement to help young jobseekers find employment in their relevant fields, Without any experience?
New Zealand First will professionalise careers and transition advice. These advisors will be both inside and outside of our education system as we believe all New Zealanders, regardless of age, will need access to this advice and support. New Zealand First will also introduce our Business Linked Internship Scheme, where students will be able to gain a training position inside a workplace, gain industry recognized credits, be technically a student under the pastoral and academic supervision of an industry training body for a period of 3 to 6 months. As they will be considered students they will have access to the universal student allowance and the full accommodation supplement should they meet that supplements criteria. This scheme has been based around the Otorohanga model established by Dale Williams and was trailed in Warkworth in 2013/14. New Zealand First has pledged to pay the equivalent of the unemployment benefit to employers who take on apprentices for that first year of that apprenticeship.
D - What is your view on the minimum wage vs living wage? What impact will this have on businesses and how do you plan to mitigate these effects?
The current living wage has been calculated as $20.20. New Zealand First has pledged to lift the current minimum wage to $20 per hour over the next three years but to offset this cost to business by lowering business tax to 25%.
E - Over 20 years ago law was passed where certain information relating to jobseekers, e.g. gender, age, nationality, etc were forbidden to be asked for by the employer (most do ask these questions in application forms anyways). Since then the internet has become a public tool for everything from buying groceries to show casing personal lives with the advent of social media. Do you think some of the laws need some updating to reflect the use of technology and accessible information? For example most HR teams/business owners/ managers etc check potential employees social media profiles now before they contact a potential jobseeker, way before evening thinking of interviewing them. Do the laws need to tie in with the new reality of life in 2017? How would your party approach this?
New Zealand First agrees that several pieces of legislation need to be updated to better reflect today's reality. We note for example that a large food chain in New Zealand has an "anti-negative postings about your employer and employment" clause in their employment contracts. The laws referred to above were an attempt to stop prejudice based on gender, age etc and these protections should remain in place so the question is how can we ensure that employment opportunities are based on skills not other prejudices? And this is a question for the parliament to address. Would it be lawful for an employer to demand access to a private Facebook page as a condition of employment? New Zealand First would be supportive of a select committee inquiry into these questions to update legislation.
F - What are your policies in relation to breaking down the glass ceiling in terms of getting females in more jobs, esp mid/senior management?
New Zealand First is opposed to quotas at this time while at the same time raising the issue of gender balance, particularly in crown entities and government departments at every annual review to Select Committees. We would prefer incentives for larger companies to adopt a "blind CV" system to ensure that shortlisting is made on the basis of skills rather than gender bias. New Zealand First also has policies to financially support cohorts of both individuals into single gender dominated industries/ areas e.g. Support cohorts of men into the caring and early childhood area and cohorts of women into senior management or digger driving. (These are just simple examples).
G - Does your party believe in the 90 day trial period for jobseekers? What would you do differently?
New Zealand First has some concerns around the 90 day trial period and would be interested in further conversation with both employers and workers organisations to see if the settings are currently working for both sides of a respectful employment relationship.
Voting ends tomorrow,