CEO comment January 2019

23 January 2019

Virginia webFrom everyone at the Otago Southland Employers' Association, we would like to wish you a very happy new year! The Employment Relations Amendment Bill is now law, with some changes beginning on 12 December 2018 and the remaining starting on 6 May 2019. We hope to see you at our employment law briefings in Dunedin, Invercargill, Cromwell, Queenstown, Wanaka or Oamaru.

We remain concerned with the changes to any new offshore oil and gas exploration permits. In our region we still have the Barque prospect about 60 km east of Oamaru, and the PEP 50119 in the Great South Basin, off the southeast coast of Otago-Southland. Our current gas supply is likely to last for just seven more years and production volumes will diminish from 2021. For more information, we had an opinion piece on this in the ODT.

Please have your say on the MBIE public consultation on the proposed changes to the employer-assisted temporary work visa system.

The CPTPP came into force at midnight on 31 December 2018 which will provide some opportunities with tariff reductions this year for exporters to Japan, Canada and Mexico. There are also opportunities in future for wine and horticulture, with wine producers having  duty free access to Canada. The global trade tensions are a concern, and so having access to these markets under CPTPP is significant for exporters.

The uncertainty around Brexit is continuing and is a significant concern to exporters and importers. Exporters are strongly being encouraged to plan for the exit on 29 March 2019.

The Government has clarified the pace of increase in the minimum wage, which I know some businesses will find challenging. This will rise from $16.50 an hour to $17.70 on 1 April 2019; then $18.90 in April 2020 and $20 in April 2021.

When you renew your membership, you can enter the remuneration details of three of your employment positions into the Wage and Salary Solution and receive a complimentary electronic benefits and conditions report, and a comparison report for those positions.

This year we will continue to ensure that your voices have been heard on many key issues through BusinessNZ, who represent us on important Government working groups including the tax working group, the future of work group, the Holidays Act review, the fair pay agreement working group and the small business council.

As always feedback is welcome.

 

Virginia Nicholls | CEO | www.osea.org.nz

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