NZ First leader Winston Peters has backed the government’s plan to introduce tougher new protection for after-sale services.
The Government has approved the protection for “independent contractors”, and will announce the details of how the legislation will apply to those in the sector on Thursday.
Opposition leader and Trade Minister Steven Joyce said the Government needed to “think again”.
“The Government’s response to the post-Christmas financial crisis has been to increase regulation on the industry, and not in the way we want,” Mr Joyce said.
“Independent contractors have been the backbone of the after-market for decades.
They provide services for companies, for retailers, for consumers.
If we are serious about protecting them, then we need to rethink what we are doing.
We need to be able to give them more protection and better protections.
It’s time to think again about the protection of independent contractors.”
In a statement, the Government said it would work with the sector and the independent contractor sector to ensure that after-selling services were not affected by changes to the Protection of Independent Contractors Act.
In January, Mr Joyce pledged to make it easier for small business to access after-payment services, as well as give consumers more information about what products and services they can expect to receive.
On Thursday, the NZ Government will introduce new rules to protect “independent” contractors.
Those companies with less than 30 employees will be able “to access after sales services” under the new legislation, while larger businesses will be required to have at least 30 employees.
Independent contractors will be protected from new laws, which include the Protection from Abuse of Trade Practices Act, which gives them legal rights to sue companies that they believe have breached the law.
Under the new rules, after-paid workers will be given more rights and have access to new and better after-care and training programs, while employers will be granted greater flexibility to decide what type of training and support is required.
Trade Minister Steven Simon said the government would work closely with the industry and independent contractors to ensure their rights were protected.
Mr Simon said he was pleased with the Government’s announcement that there would be new protection rules for independent contractors.
“As a small business owner I want to be assured that my workers are protected,” he said.
“It is important that we do not have a situation where independent contractors feel they can’t access services they need.
This is about ensuring that my employees are able to access all services they are entitled to under the law.”
Opposing New Zealand First’s Steven Joyce has also welcomed the Government announcement that independent contractors will receive a new level of protection.
Labor leader Andrew Little said the move was a welcome sign that the Government was taking action to protect workers.
“[The Government] is making it easier to hire people for the first time,” Mr Little said.