The Employment Contracts Act: An Interim Assessment


  • Kevin Hince
  • Raymond Harbridge



The Employment Contracts Act bracketed with the other market-oriented changes of the decade, has changed the nature of economic and social relations in New Zealand. In hindsight it seems that a broad consensus has emerged that some change was necessary. But the debate will continue to rage as to whether the direction, extent and speed of that change was necessary, whether the espoused benefits of that change have been achieved, and whether those benefits have been equitably shared. There will be further ongoing debate as to whether any benefits have outweighed the costs, especially social costs, of the programme of change. This essay is a contribution to that debate focusing on the specific issue of the Employment Contracts Act and the labour market; the impact and outcomes. It is argued that similar or better economic outcomes (with less social divisiveness) could have been achieved by an alternative strategy.


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