Thank you to the organisers for allowing me (Amanda Reilly) some time to speak as co- chairperson of the Society on behalf of myself and Professor Annick Masselot who is also co-chairperson.
I will be brief! I am just going to say a few words about the Society and I also want to thank and acknowledge a number of people:
The Society was founded in 2009 by attendees at the International Society of Labour and Social Security Law which was in Sydney. I was at that meeting, as was Professor Margaret Wilson and Professor Gordon Anderson both well known to you all for their significant contributions to the general field of labour law as well as to the Society- in particular, Gordon who served as President for a number of years as well as organising several conferences.
Another person at that founding meeting who I want to particularly shine a spotlight on was Pam Nuttall, then a senior lecturer based at AUT. I'd like to give a special shout out, thanks and acknowledgment to Pam, not just as a kind and wise mentor to me personally as well as to countless of her students and others, but also for her significant contributions to the Society as Secretary. She was the one that did much of the necessary but frequently invisible work that got the Society off the ground and kept it going for many years. I think it is fair to say there would not have been a Society if it had not been for Pam.
The Society occupies a unique place in New Zealand's landscape. It is not a purely academic conference and it is not a purely practitioner conference- instead it exists as a platform to disseminate research and to provide a space for dialogue in the broad field of labour law. In my view, it is important that we keep having this dialogue as it is through dialogue that we learn and grow as individuals and as a community. And here I would like to thank and acknowledge everyone who came along and participated and presented at this conference most particularly the students. You are the next generation and we will be looking to you to keep the dialogue going.
I also (sporting rivalries notwithstanding) want to thank our Australian counterparts from the Australian Labour Law Association (ALLA) - there are very few academics who focus on labour law in New Zealand and the support of our Australian colleagues for our projects and in coming to the conferences is valued and appreciated. And I should mention that Anthony (Forsyth, President of ALLA) has asked me to encourage everyone to come along to the next ALLA conference this time next year which will be in Geelong.
I also want to acknowledge and thank everyone who has served on the Society committee (past and present) and especially would like to mention and thank for their contributions those who are here today. i.e Yvonne Oldfield, John Goddard and Graeme Colgan.
Lastly I want to thank our organisers Simon Schofield, Alan Toy and Nadia Dabee. It is no secret that New Zealand Universities are going through challenging times at the moment and it is fair to say there would not have been a conference if it hadn't been for these three - they have brought new blood and energy and they've put their own mark on the efforts of the Society, while staying true to its purpose, that of providing a platform for dialogue in our field- and they have done so magnificently- please join me in thanking them...!