CEO comment 15 July 2020

15 July 2020

Virginia webWe are devastated that the Tiwai Point NZ Aluminium Smelter (NZAS) is to close by August 2021.  The Government has been aware of the review of NZAS for some time, and we do not believe that they have considered the social and economic loss that this will have in our region, and the effect on the energy sector across NZ.  We are keen to hear from the Government on what their plans are going forward to replace the jobs that we will lose at NZAS.

NZAS is one of the most efficient smelters in the world producing some of the highest purity and lowest carbon aluminium, but pays one of the highest prices for power and transmission faced by a smelter anywhere in the world.

It is now important to focus on what the economic options are to fill a $595m economic contribution to NZ, as well as a loss of 1,000 jobs and a further 1,600 indirect jobs in Southland.

This will have significant knock-on effects for the Southland community for years to come.

We are closely following some significant employment law cases on the wage subsidy.  The Employment Relations Authority decisions could mean businesses are liable for wage arrears with the wage subsidy.  You can read more on Gate Gourmet and the Dove case.

The Ministers for Economic Development and Small Business have announced a further $40 million for the Regional Business Partners (RBP) Network.  If you need any HR/ER and legal support from OSEA, and you have less than 100 staff, then you may be entitled for 100% free HR and legal support, up to $5,000. You can apply to your RBP service provider or register on the RBP website. If you need any assistance please contact us on

Businesses are concerned about the cannabis referendum and managing cannabis impairment risks at work. The Business Leaders’ Health and Safety forum have produced a reflective guide on this.

The Deloitte-Chapman Tripp-BusnessNZ one-day Election Conference which only occurs once every 3 years just before the general election is on in Wellington on 18 August, or you can link online from your office.  You can register here.

From 1 July the parental leave payment from the Government is payable for 26 weeks.  Previously this was for 22 weeks. 

In this environment it is good to see that ACC has announced on 6 July that they are freezing their levies paid by businesses, the self-employed and motorists to cover the costs of accidents for two years.

As always any feedback is welcome.

Ngā mihi nui \ with kind regards,


Virginia Nicholls | CEO |

Copyright 2021 | Otago Southland Employers' Association | All Rights Reserved | Website by Punch Marketing