"The Government has taken a major step backwards by re-introducing 1890s style compulsory unionism,” says ACT’s Small Business spokesperson Chris Baillie.

“The Government’s so-called ‘Fair Pay Agreements’ Bill amounts to unionism by stealth and will simply make it tougher for business who are already doing it tough.

“Labour have dusted off this Bill to appease their union mates. But while union organisers make up 30 per cent of Labour’s caucus, they only represent 0.026 per cent of the general population. New Zealanders are free to join a union if they want to, it shouldn’t be forced upon them because of Labour’s blind ideology.

“It is a radical change to employment laws that is anti-democratic and anti-freedom.

“MBIE has warned the Government that FPAs will reduce productivity and make it harder for employers to grow. If they want to grow wages and give employees a fairer crack, they need to stop hammering businesses and allow the labour market to flourish.

“This Bill comes in the same week that the Government is increasing the minimum wage, starting to collect the ute tax, and is looking to pass the second reading of a Bill for another public holiday.

“We want a country of innovation and productivity growth. Introducing a more bureaucratic way to set pay just won’t support that.

“ACT will be campaigning to dump 19th century compulsory unionism immediately after the election, no matter what the makeup of the Government is.”