Former PM Jim Bolger defends comments on unions

Former Prime Minister Jim Bolger.
Former Prime Minister Jim Bolger.

Former Prime Minister Jim Bolger has defended his comments around unions and neo-liberalism in New Zealand.

Mr Bolger raised eyebrows when he said unions needed strengthening, given his Government's neo-liberal policies and the anti-union Employment Contracts Act.

But he says he's not a hypocrite, and only did what was necessary at the time.

"It's very easy to forget the circumstances of why we had to bring in some unpopular, and some would say radical and some would say nasty policies. But they were designed with only one objective in mind - to resolve the failed economic crisis we inherited," he told Mitch Harris on RadioLIVE.

Mr Bolger says unions today aren't thinking ahead.

"What are the unions doing? How are they developing strategies and thinking of the world of tomorrow?

"My frustration with the unions today is they have to start thinking about the big issues. If you alter the parking slot somewhere outside a building they'll get terribly excited. That's irrelevant."

Listen to the full interview.