COMMENT

Looks like it's crunch time for business and the Government.

Having been sucked into wandering along to select committees under the guise of open consultation, the reality has finally dawned on them that they have been had, and they are angry.

The Employers and Manufacturers Association calls it a slap in the face, which it is, but it was always coming, the thing they fear most from this government is now reality.

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Labour market reform is the thing that has driven the confidence numbers to decade long lows, it is the singular thing that has been coming from this government that business fears quite rightly, will tangibly lead to trouble at the office.

The select committee has reported back and the reforms as put forward remain unchanged as they were always going to be.

Select committees are a long established con whereby you state your case in the belief someone might hear it, think it's a good idea and do something with it.

In reality it's worse than a casino, all the odds are in the house's favour, those on the committee are stacked on the government's side and they are not for moving.

So, what's coming our way?

Well in simple terms, the return of the unions, a return to industry-wide pay deals, some wacky law that somehow forces you to cut a deal no matter how far apart you may be, and the king hit - the end of the 90-day trials.

And it's that one that has most of us upset and for very good reason.

The changes around unions. to be fair. have not yet happened. Yes we have been there before and yes it was a mess and yes most of us would not want to go back. But it is possible it might be different this time (stop laughing).

In other words, if you were being really level-handed you could say let's suck it and see. Let's see if it's as bad as we think, given it's not yet been implemented.

But the 90-day trials are here, they have been a part of the landscape for a number of years and have been a success, they have created jobs, and to take that away is a hopelessly naive mistake.

Why you would want to upend a system that gets people off the dole and into a job, that gives them skills and a chance I have no idea.

The research shows those who get hired stay, they prosper.

The research shows the employers who may or may not have taken the risk on a hire, took a leap of faith under the 90-day law, and by and large the job has stuck.

In other words, if it ain't broke, why smash it up.

Once again, to be fair, the entire 90-day law is not being undone, but that's only because New Zealand First saved it, once again showing that of the three heads running the place they are increasingly looking like the most middle of the road.

Here's what I know about business. Business does best when it's left to get on with it, when the rules, red tape and regulation are cleared out of the way, when the government isn't forever in your office telling you what to do.

Here's what I also know. Unions are wreckers, they have no one's interests at heart but their own.

When in ascendancy the strikes go up, the aggro increases, the threats become a part of life.

Maybe I had too many school holidays as a kid waiting for the Cook Strait ferry that never sailed.

Maybe I have seen in my own workplaces the biggest agitators and the ones who complain and moan the loudest, are the unionised ones.

What this government inherited when it comes to the workplace was a world-class operation, a rock star economy.

Ask yourself whether these new reforms are going to enhance that and take it to the next level, or apply a massive, naive, union-led handbrake.