The National Party has been on a charm offensive with the union movement, in a bid to draw a line between the old union-hating National Party and the new more sophisticated middle-of-the-road Key-English National Party - see Newsroom's Nats Try Softly Softy Approach With Unions.
As the article points out, the party under Brash had no real communication with unions and the previous spokesperson on Labour, Wayne Mapp, 'used to talk of union militancy and warned that "if you give unions powers they will use it"', but the new spokesperson promoted by John Key, Kate Wilkinson is at pains to have a constructive relationship with unions and promote National's supposedly more worker-friendly policies. National now says that it values unions and believes they have an important role in representing workers. According to the article, National says 'Unions could be important information conduits, play an important collaborative role, be influential in improving productivity and bring balance to bargaining powers.'
The CTU has confirmed the softer approach and says they are having 'very amicable' and ongoing discussions with National. The movement welcomes the change, but wants to see real policy change from National.