Following a successful application to access a sacked employee’s bank statements, Air New Zealand has had its right to insert a prima nocta clause into all of its employment agreements backed by the Employment Relations Authority.
The clause, which gives Air New Zealand senior management the right to sleep with any of its employees’ spouses on their wedding night, has alarmed civil libertarians and unions who are claiming the move breaches multiple human rights and should be stopped by government.
However Prime Minister John Key said he was relaxed about the clause and saw no reason for the government to intervene in the affairs of a semi-private business. “Look at the end of the day there’s a range of employers New Zealanders can work for so it’s pretty much the employee’s choice.”
Key said that there was no interest from the government in making such clauses mandatory. But Paula Bennett has suggested that she would be investigating making changes to cut the benefits of anyone who refused a job based on similar clauses. “Let’s face it, most bennies are already at it like rabbits anyway, and I don’t think that taxpayers will want to foot the bill just because they suddenly get a bit squeamish about getting on their backs for the boss once in a while.”
Air New Zealand’s CEO wasn’t available for interview, but in a written statement explained that the changes were about ensuring the national carrier “maintained a nimble and flexible workforce fit for the tough twenty-first century market”.
Opposition leader David Shearer has promised Labour will consider reviewing the issue when it becomes government, while Labour’s spokesperson for whatever-he-feels-like Shane Jones, commented that the policy was “redblooded” and that “Kiwis don’t want to be lead by a bunch of geldings, this’ll show the world we’re not a nation of nancyboys.”