Law change corrects technicalities

  • Margaret Wilson

Wednesday, 3 October 2001Media Statement

The government has moved to ensure that Parliament’s intentions for employment relations are given full effect.

The Employment Relations (Validation of Union Registration and Other Matters) Amendment Bill was introduced today. It will override the effect of two recent Court decisions and return to the original policy intention of the Employment Relations Act.

The Bill will deem all unions that had their registration declared unlawful by the Court of Appeal, to have been lawfully registered. The amendment will also ensure nothing done by any person during this period is to be treated as unlawful or of no effect. Also, no liability will attach to any person because of the Registrar’s actions.

The Government will also move to clarify the law that the Employment Relations Authority is not required to allow cross examination, but may do so in appropriate cases. This is consistent with the policy intent behind the Employment Relations Act which recognises that decision - making at first instance should be as informal as possible and not constrained by the legal procedures. Parties will not be prevented from pusuing their case in the Employment Court on the basis of a full hearing.

The Authority’s ability to decide the procedure of an investigation meeting is an important way in which flexibility can be maintained and undue length and technicalities avoided. The Authority will continue to be required to meet the principles of natural justice.

It is expected the Bill will be referred to the Transport and Industrial Relations Select Committee with an instruction to report back within 2 weeks.

Contact: Colin Feslier 021 864 811 04 471 9337