His contribution to the 'teabreak' bill debate uses a novel thought experiment reversing employers and employees. But it is the conclusion I've cut and paste below:
I support this bill because it is a step in the right direction towards more flexible labour markets.
Like all attempts to improve public policy, this amendment is imperfect.
Economic reality and experience suggest it should have gone further. Governments cannot legislate market outcomes, but can influence them.
Let me leave the opposition with two initiatives that might better help New Zealanders achieve better pay and conditions.
Nominal pay rates are only worthwhile to the extent that they are useful for buying real goods. The price of houses have doubled relative to incomes over the last two decades, overwhelmingly due to local authorities prescribing an urban development pattern incompatible with the housing people actually want.
Far more could be achieved for working New Zealanders by improving the responsiveness of housing market supply than by futile attempts to shift bargaining strategies in the labour market.
Another contributor to the outcomes in the labour market is the skill level of employees. Employees with greater skills earn more, and this factor is growing in importance.
Indeed, increases in inequality of market income in the western world can be attributed to increasing returns to skills – you can earn more and more if you are more literate and more numerate.
The real work achieving the opposition’s purported objectives is being done on the supply sides of the housing and education sectors, and I’m proud to support and encourage this government in this work.
In conclusion I am proud to support this bill and hope that this government will one day pursue best practice policy by confronting the fallacies that underlie too much of our labour law legislation.
The duty to enter into and conclude bargaining should be gone.
The duty to retain staff under Section 6A almost unconditionally dependent on the type of employee, and now the type of business, should be gone.
Doing so would put us in touch with the labour market of the 21st century, whose businesses succeed or fail based on their ability to attract and retain workers.