Wednesday, 26 June 2013

CECC cleared of unjustified dismissal

The Canterbury Employers’ Chamber of Commerce have been through the gruelling process of successfully defending itself, through the Employment Relations Authority. The case related to an ex-employee, alleging the Chamber had failed to act in good faith and did not provide a safe workplace. The alleged issues arose after the 22 February 2011 earthquake, when CECC staff were working from my home, in Holmwood Road under less than ideal conditions like many other Christchurch businesses post-earthquake.

The full summary of the ERA findings just released two years after the alleged allegations can been seen here. Defending these allegations has been resource hungry, arduous, emotionally taxing and expensive. While CECC has been completely exonerated and in fact praised for a lot of the actions we took immediately post-earthquake, we will still end up out of pocket, as a completely innocent party. A proportion of the legal fees incurred, will remain a cost to CECC and of course the resources we have expended defending what have been found to be spurious allegations, can never be recovered. 

There is something fundamentally wrong here, a view of which I am sure is shared by many of our members.  Why should a completely innocent party, totally exonerated from all charges, end up with significant costs by going through a process to prove its innocence? The easy option for us, would have been to agree on a cash settlement, early on in the process. As an employers’ organisation we refused to do that, because we knew we were innocent and simply settling, to get the allegations out of the way, was morally indefensible and bowing to the failings of an inadequate system.

We now want to do  what we can to address this frustration. It has been the curse of employers for many years. We want to see whether or not we can, in future, ensure full compensation of costs, for entities who are put through a process to have to prove their innocence and proven to be without blame. The process is flawed and it needs to be changed. Please let me know if you share my views.

Wednesday, 19 June 2013

Why I am supporting St John

I am thrilled to be supporting St John this year through their Annual Appeal.

I will be going out on an Ambulance observation shift on Saturday 29 June between 6.00pm and 9.00pm. As well as seeing the work of St John Ambulance crews as they care for the people of Christchurch, I’m also looking forward to getting a better understanding of the challenges and issues which St John is facing in the post-earthquake rebuild of our city.

Did you know St John is a charity? Don’t worry if you didn’t - many people don’t. However it’s true. St John relies on the generosity and support of the community so it can continue to do the fantastic work it does in the community. Without our help, they can’t help. Every year St John has to raise $10 million in the South Island alone, so the money raised during the St John Annual Appeal is incredibly important. This year St John is trying to raise $2 million nationally and over $400,000 in the South Island.

I hope that you will support me and St John as I go out on the road with the hard working Ambulance Officers of New Zealand’s biggest Ambulance Service. Any donation is greatly received and will be used within the community.

Please click here to go to my fundraising page.

Wednesday, 12 June 2013

Getting Ready

As the $40 billion plus rebuild starts to wind up we need to be sure that we are as well prepared as possible to confront the enormity of what we have ahead of us.

The $40 billion rebuild involves:-

  • ·         $2.5 billion worth of horizontal infrastructure
  • ·         90,000 homes needing to be repaired under $100,000
  • ·         25,000 homes in excess of $100,000
  • ·         Around 1,500 commercial buildings to be rebuilt

It is an enormous task and a task that the business community of Christchurch needs to be well prepared for. It worries me a little that a lot of businesses out there are just looking to tomorrow and not looking further out in terms of their planning. We really do need to envisage where we are going to be twelve months down the track and plan accordingly.

In twelve months the Christchurch economy will be a completely different place than it is today. There will be drivers that have come to play that we don’t have involved in our economy at present, everyone will be extraordinarily busy and the big problems will be about how we manage growth in our community and our economy rather than how we struggle through a post-earthquake environment. It is really important therefore, that we all look closely at our businesses and anticipate the sort of resources we may require twelve months down the track so that we can prepare ourselves accordingly.

To do anything else will be to miss out on New Zealand’s greatest ever economic opportunity.