Planned employment law changes 'not really about workers' rights' and will hurt business - National

The National party says the Government's planned changes to employment law, focusing on collective bargaining, will have a negative impact on businesses.

Labour’s Iain Lees-Galloway insists the government’s impending employment law changes won’t hamper strong Kiwi businesses. Source: Q+A

Workplace Relations Minister Ian Lees Galloway says giving unions a boost, together with an increase to the minimum wage, will help kiwi workers get their fair share.

National MP Scott Simpson. Source: 1 NEWS

But the opposition says increased unionisation won't stimulate growth.

There a plenty of theories around, but no-one seems quite sure why so many more people have found work.
Source: 1 NEWS

"I think the main message from this legislation is that this is not really about workers' rights at all," said Scott Simpson, National spokesperson for Workplace Relations and safety.

"This is about strengthening union rights and many of us remember a time in years gone by when that occurred and the unions did have domination and we don't really want to go back to that," he said. 

Experts point to downward correction of New Zealand's growing economy

Domestic and international pressures mean our currently high growth rate – around three per cent - can't continue forever, economists have warned.

Local business owner Michael Vickers, who owns North Shore Demolition, noticed a slowdown six months ago.

Mr Vickers says while the demand to demolish buildings have gone down, the sale of recycled items has kept his company in business.

"We’re just back on the yard. The yard sales will get us through - they got us through last time," Mr Vickers said.

"There's a fuel tax coming up and that's going to affect business, especially trucking companies and we run a lot of trucks."

John Ballingall, the deputy chief executive for the New Zealand Institute of Economic Research, says business confidence has fallen sharply after the change in government six months ago.

"On the domestic front, business confidence has fallen sharply since the change in government and firms are telling us that they plan to invest and hire less than they have before," Mr Ballingall said.

"We've spoken very vocally around high levels of household debt and particularly concentrated levels of household debt around property investors," Adrian Orr, the Reserve Bank governor, said.

There's been concern about a possible trade war between the United States and China.

"There’s a lot of uncertainty out there about what the global trading environment looks like and that's bad news for a trading economy such as New Zealand," Mr Ballingall said.

The economy moves in cycles, but a financial crisis at the level of 2008 is being downplayed.

Cameron Bagrie, former ANZ chief economist and owner of Bagrie Economics, says, "If you believe in statistics, years ending in eight tend to be a bad year."

"There's some warning signs around the globe but there's also some pretty good signs - the world's largest economy has got an unemployment rate of 3.9 per cent. That's a sign of economic strength - that kind of stuff is to be embraced," Mr Bagrie said.

Michael Vickers believes future-proofing the economy starts at the grass roots.

"Apprenticeships - I’d hit apprenticeships hard. Training - we've got plenty of it and lawyers - let's get some truck drivers," he said.

This week will reveal whether the government is listening.

All eyes are on the economy ahead of the budget release this week. Source: 1 NEWS


'People would say 'go kill yourself'' – Young Kiwi cyberbullying survivor speaks out

A young Kiwi woman has revealed how cyberbullying drove her to attempt suicide – and how she fought back.

"We portray one thing on social media, but you never know what's going on behind the scenes," Jazz Thornton explained on tonight's episode of TVNZ's mental health series, The Inside Word.

Jazz first experienced cyberbullying at the age of 12.

Online, she was subjected to a barrage of abusive messages from schoolmates. Many of them wrote anonymous comments about her.

"People would say, 'Go kill yourself; it would be better if you were dead; everyone hates you'... All of those horrible things.

"It makes you feel like no matter what you do, people are going to hate you anyway."

The abuse continued for four years. At the age of 16, Jazz reached breaking point.

"There was one page that was really bad, and tipped me over. It was called, 'Jazz Thornton Is An Attention-Seeking Slut'.

"I thought that there was no point in me living anymore, because everyone hated me; I would never be loved; I was a burden to everyone. And it got too much."

She tried to commit suicide, and woke up in hospital. Despite surviving, Jazz says she believed her life would never get better.

In total, she has attempted suicide 14 times.

Last month, Jazz made national headlines when she posted a letter she wrote to a police officer who once prevented her from taking her life.

However, the biggest turning point came when Jazz's mentor helped her realise that she was simply "surviving" rather than "fighting" her destructive thoughts.

Jazz worked hard to change her "core beliefs". She surrounded herself with positive people, and made lifestyle changes to ensure that she could access help when she needed it.

Now 23, she co-leads Voices of Hope, a movement to promote positive conversations about mental health in New Zealand.

"I can’t believe the transformation. I used to wake up every day wishing I hadn’t. And now I wake up every day so excited."

Watch the full episode of The Inside Word on cyberbullying here:

Where can I get support and help?

If you want to talk to someone about any challenges in your life, free call or text 1737 anytime to speak to a trained counsellor.

Lifeline - 0800 543 354

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Depression helpline: 0800 111 757 or free text 4202 or

The Lowdown: A website to help young New Zealanders recognise and understand depression or anxiety. or free text 5626 Online e-therapy tool provided by the University of Auckland that helps young people learn skills to deal with feeling down, depressed or stressed

OUTLine NZ - 0800 688 5463 for support related to sexual orientation or gender identity.