Corporate Policy rehash for better governance

New Zealand First unveils its new initiatives

Winston Peters

Whangarei, September 15, 2017

We have our policies to clean up corporate New Zealand.

We will adopt policies similar to what the UK, Australia, Netherlands and most of Europe have. This is to tame corporate New Zealand’s Wild West nature by giving shareholders a ‘say on pay’ and workers, a much fairer deal.

New Zealand has developed a culture of stuff up and win – the bosses and directors get paid more even when their companies do less.

Who suffers?

It is the shareholders, investors, customers and above all, workers. Kiwis have lost billions from finance company failures to taxpayers caught up in the latest $500 million Fuji Xerox fraud.

Yet look at PWC’s 2017 Executive Reward Report. Bosses pay went up by 4.6% on average, yet wages and salary earners, according to StatisticsNZ, trailed back on 1.7%. Incidentally, 1.7% was the rate of inflation so workers’ pay went nowhere.

Then we wonder why productivity is in the toilet with Kiwis working their hearts out just to stand still.

And when it is time to show executives the door, out comes the corporate chequebook. Look at the $1.8 million golden parachute dished out by Silver Fern Farms in 2014, or the $2.9 million exit package that Fletcher Construction recently paid out.

Workers are lucky to get redundancy scraps and in some cases, nothing at all.

Frankly this is not good enough. This is why New Zealand First commits to give workers a fair go and the shareholders of large companies a ‘say on pay.’

New Zealand First will incentivise performance not mediocrity in order to put us ahead of the west, instead of being back in the Wild West.

Reforms for Workers and Businesses

Lift the minimum wage to $20 an hour over three years.

Set Minimum Redundancy provisions based on twice the normal contractual notice period up to a maximum of 13 weeks.

Amend the Companies Act so that wages and salary, including holiday pay, have equal priority with Secured Creditors.

Enable businesses to pay decent wages, by lowering company tax to 25% over three years and taxing export generated income at 20%.

Corporate Reform

Amend the Companies Act to give shareholders, including cooperatives, a ‘Say on Pay’ for directors and CEO’s.

Require mandatory remuneration reports and reporting of pay equity.

Ban ‘golden hellos’ (executive recruitment bonuses) and limit ‘golden parachutes’ (executive redundancy) to the same provisions as for workers.

Introduce regulations around ‘share schemes’ to require a 36-month minimum holding period after they cease employment in order to prevent short-term nest feathering.

Amend legislation, such as the Prudential Supervision Act 2010, to stop boards using loose and unreviewable “fit and proper person” tests to shut down potential candidates.

Introduce serious penalties for corporate fraud and tax evasion.

Winston Peters is elected Member of Parliament from Northland and Leader of the New Zealand First Party. The above was his speech that he delivered at a business meeting in Whangarei this afternoon.

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