Wellington, March 2 NZPA - A prominent union leader has said last Friday's Job Summit was the first time she had seen a genuine attempt at employers, unions and government constructively working together.
National Distribution Union boss Laila Harre, who attended the summit, said she believed it had been a success.
"I think it will certainly achieve something. I think it already has, it has brought a bit of a new approach to looking at what is a fast moving and changing environment," Ms Harre told National Radio.
The event had been a risk for Prime Minister John Key, a risk which she believed Helen Clark never took.
"Sitting through the summit I found it difficult to imagine the Labour Party under Helen Clark really taking a risk like that, which was to give a group of people an open brief in a very public way to propose some ideas and solutions."
Ms Harre served as a minister in the Labour/Alliance government in 1999.
"I don't think there ever was a willingness to take that kind of risk," Ms Harre said.
"In terms of my political experience anyway this (The Job Summit) was the first time I had personally been engaged in genuinely tripartite process at a New Zealand level.
"I have seen it in action at the International Labour Organisation. I have never seen anything looking like that in New Zealand and it's a pretty mild version, but it is a start."
The proposals that came out of the summit were extremely conservative, but they were a start which would allow the Government to say yes to some ideas.
The Government could now work the interest groups to see if even larger ideas could be implemented, Ms Harre said.
Another difference from previous conferences was that this time participants had no doubt that the country was facing an unprecedented crisis.
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