Employment law critic Kim Campbell to step down from EMA in November

Kim Campbell will leave the Employers and Manufacturers' Association at the lobby group's November annual meeting, removing a vocal critic of the government's plans for employment law reform at a time when a working group will offer the minister some advice.

The former pharmaceuticals executive will resign as chief executive at the Nov. 22 annual meeting, after eight years as a leading voice for New Zealand businesses. EMA Northern is a founding member of peak lobby group Business NZ, representing more than 4,000 members in the upper part of the country. If the EMA board can't find a replacement by the annual meeting, Campbell will stay on until a new CEO is found.

"Kim is an outstanding advocate for business, and the needs of business. He has done a sterling job in leading the organisation through significant change in the past seven years and leaves the EMA in great shape," EMA president Andrew Hunt said in a statement. "His belief in the work of the EMA and focus on helping businesses succeed has been uncompromising,"

Campbell has been forthright in his opposition to the government's moves on industrial relations law, returning legislative settings for collective negotiations back to where they were before changes in 2014. There's more uncertainty about the government's plans for fair pay agreements, and firms will have a say through Business NZ's representation on a working group chaired by Jim Bolger.

Hunt included Campbell's recent advocacy on the proposed law changes among highlights of his tenure, saying the campaign "galvanised our members to ask government to consider the ramifications of the raft of employment relations changes in the pipeline."

The EMA's board decided to introduce a flatter management structure for the group after a strategy session last year "to ensure the organisation is able to focus on enhancing the membership offering on the one hand while balancing this with ensuring we have enough fuel in the tank (ie revenue) to run our operation," Hunt said in the 2017 annual report.

The group's subscription revenue rose 6.9 percent to $7.5 million in the year ended June 30, 2017, and was the biggest contributor to its $18 million of annual revenue.

Separately, Business NZ and industry training organisations welcomed the New Zealand Qualifications Authority's micro-credential system, where briefer training periods are tailored to specific skill sets.

"Micro-credentials - shorter bite-sized 'bits' of learning - provide businesses and employees with greater opportunities for upskilling when required," Business NZ CEO Kirk Hope said in a statement. "This means it will be easier for employees to evolve in their current roles or step into new roles without having to undergo a full qualification or lengthy retraining process."