New Zealand Labour Party

Joyce needs to take responsibility for his blunders

Steven Joyce today admitted he’s got no idea of the size of his Ministry’s payroll liability six months after being told legal breaches were being investigated, Labour’s Economic Development spokesperson David Clark says.

“Employment lawyers say the majority of payroll issues relate to confusion caused by changes the Government made to the Holidays Act in 2011. The blame for any ambiguity in the law lies at National’s feet because they conducted a full review in 2010.

“It is time the minister stopped trying to downplay this issue and listened to those dealing with the consequences of his stuff-ups. He needs to step up to take some responsibility.

“The Government has known about this problem for six years. The State Services Minister previously acknowledged the issue was serious enough for her department to begin investigating breaches in 2014.

“Whilst this Government has sat on its hands, these payroll problems have continued to grow.

“Pack house employees now join the 24,000-long list of affected employees identified following 20 Labour Inspectorate investigations.

“Today payroll provider AMS were confirmed as the software provider to MBIE but the Minister failed to assure doctors, nurses, public servants and all of the company’s 50,000 other clients – who receive $3.5 Billion in wages annually – that they have been paid properly.

“It’s likely that tens of thousands of New Zealanders still don’t know they have been underpaid. This story gets worse every day,” David Clark says.