The possible future coalition partner for National ends weekly staff meetings with a prayer which he admits some people might see as controversial.

Colin Craig's admission comes after the re-release of a 5-year-old decision by the Employment Relations Authority following a complaint by one of his employees,

Jacky Stiekema, who had worked at Mr Craig's Centurion Management Services for four years, alleged the company required employees to attend weekly religious devotion ceremonies.

Ms Stiekema, a trust account manager, also said Mr Craig had preached that being short was a sin.


After she made allegations of fraud at the company and faced disciplinary action, Ms Stiekema resigned in 2007, saying she had no other choice because her health had suffered.

The ERA did not uphold her complaints. It said it would have had difficulty accepting Centurion could compel staff to attend the devotional sessions if attendance was contrary to an employee's religious belief.

However, it did award Ms Stiekema $6000 to compensate her for hurt and humiliation.

Yesterday, Mr Craig said the dispute was the only one he had had in 21 years of business. Centurion's weekly meetings usually closed with a short prayer, shorter than the one opening Parliament.

"Once we talked about Zacchaeus, who was a short man, unable to see through a crowd. He resolved that problem by using his initiative and climbing a tree. The principle is finding creative solutions to solve a problem - something that helps us succeed in business."