The Domestic Violence Bill - Hasmate
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The Domestic Violence Bill

The Domestic Violence Bill

As a business owner, are you aware of a private member’s bill before Parliament that will place a greater obligation on your business to offer greater protection in employment to victims of domestic violence?  If not, you need to read this.

The member’s bill was put forward by Jan Logie of the Greens. It passed its first reading in the House with unanimous support from all parties.

The potential impact on all business owners (who already are up to their neck in legislation and compliance issues) raises a very disturbing question. When will politicians wake up to the fact that they are pandering and creating a nanny state, and to start making individuals accountable for their own actions. When will they start to make it easier for businesses to manage, instead of drowning them in bureaucracy that they have no direct part in?

Too often we are hearing of the government being blamed for the large percentage of Maori in our jails, the homeless, the state of the poor in New Zealand, and unhealthy homes. Some of this is real, but we live in a nation that pays you not to go to work, provides hand-outs, and a state that is now reducing accountability for actions of individuals. This proposed bill (in my opinion) is just another nail in the coffin of personal accountability.

When will politicians wake up and realize that 89% of NZ businesses employ 19 or less people, 11% employ between 20 and 100, and less than 0.4% of businesses employ 100 or more. Yes, 0.4% – is that not interesting? The one common denominator between all groups is that they are hard out running their businesses, creating employment, paying their taxes and trying to make a profit. This bill will just become another burden on their business.

The 2003 changes to the (now redundant) Health and Safety in Employment Act included stress as a workplace risk/hazard. This created an inundation of stress related claims by many employees, many justified, but opened up numerous cases of many other questionable claims.

This claimant mentality also extended to the courts when a precedence was set when an individual on trial was acquitted because their legal representative argued that because they were abused as a child, this was the reason that lead them to their crime. Again, this lead to many claims that in many cases could not be proven.

Following on from these two examples, I can envisage that the same behaviour is going to emerge from certain individuals who will try to ride the system. Business owners are (by default) potentially going to be trapped by something that they have absolutely no control over, and yet will have to develop policies and procedures for, and make time to manage it through this nanny state legislation.

There is no denying that we do have a domestic violence problem in NZ, but why make business owners part of the solution? They don’t own the problem.