Search Browse On This Day Map Quotations Timeline Research Free Datasets Remembered About Contact

Bad news for the Brethren

Tue 26 Sep 2006 In: New Zealand Daily News

New Zealand-based Exclusive Brethren businesses could be in for a shake up, says the Minister of Labour. Currently the church's businesses can stop union officials from entering their workplaces. The Exclusive Brethren obtained the exemption for being a religious organisation outside the political process, as members of the church do not vote. Minister of Labour Ruth Dyson says the justification for the exemption has to be looked at given the church's involvement in last year's election and revelations it hired private investigators to tail ministers. She says she would defy anyone in New Zealand to say that they are outside mainstream political activity now. National's industrial relations spokesman, Wayne Mapp, says it is pure vindictiveness on the part of Labour. He believes the move is a revenge tactic to get back at the Exclusive Brethren. But Dyson dismisses any accusation that the government is simply getting back at the organisation. She says that would be a shallow representation and maintains that is not the case at all. Unions claim the Exclusive Brethren deserve to be stripped of their right to be exempt from labour laws. Council of Trade Unions president Ross Wilson says it was put in place in 2000, on the basis that Exclusive Brethren find union membership or any political association unconscionable. But he says the Brethren have shown themselves to be a very political organisation and the basis for that exemption no longer exists. The Exclusive Brethren campaign across the globe against GLBT issues such as gay marriage, and support any political party it sees as helpful in their anti-GLBT beliefs. Prime Minister Helen Clark calls the Brethren a ‘weird sect', and cabinet ministers liken them to the devil and the Taliban. Meanwhile, National party leader Don Brash is now keen to distance himself and the National party from the Brethren. Dr Brash had admitted over the weekend to having met members of the organisation since the election and refused to rule out doing so again. Revelations that a private investigator had been hired by Brethren members to investigate Labour MPs lead Dr Brash to comment today: "They crossed the line and National wants nothing to do with them. I think it's important we make our distaste for this sort of behaviour crystal clear."     Ref: TVNZ, NZ Herald (m)

Credit: News Staff

First published: Tuesday, 26th September 2006 - 12:00pm

Rights Information

This page displays a version of a article that was automatically harvested before the website closed. All of the formatting and images have been removed and some text content may not have been fully captured correctly. The article is provided here for personal research and review and does not necessarily reflect the views or opinions of If you have queries or concerns about this article please email us