Research report
27 May 2021

Why New Zealand needs a Modern Slavery Act

Do you know if you’re buying products made by slave labour?

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Nick L.
05 Jun 2021
NZ culture of getting a 'fair go' is being changes

Sadly, the high immigration rates into this country are also bringing in more than just people.
We are bringing in a culture change, particularly from Asian countries,. where exploitation of their own vulnerable people is seen as the way to succeed.

It needs to be stamped out. New Residency and Citizenship status needs to have deterrent measures to help safeguard our NZ values. If you are found guilty of making your wealth from modern day 'slavery', your citizenship gets revoked.

It would stamp out this wretched practice overnight.

B A S.
05 Jun 2021
Not many immigrant workers now.

It is the old story, if our army of unemployed could be used instead of importing labour that woud be great.

Alistair Rowe
29 May 2021
Let’s have the facts rather than emotive claims

Productivity is the key to value in these labour intensive activities. Workers are not paid just to turn up - they are paid for the work they do. The real measure of fairness is what a worker can earn if they work reasonably hard and efficiently.

Peter L.
29 May 2021
Minimum wages are based on time spent on the job

Nobody is doubting productivity is important, but NZ law requires employees be paid at least the minimum wage (regardless of their individual productivity). If you have a productivity issue with an employee, then that is a performance / disciplinary matter.

Charlotte R.
05 May 2022
You've covered your eyes, but we can still see you.

There are a number of facts included in this article, despite your apparent blindness. What you seem to be missing is that the issue is people are NOT being paid for their hard work. As Peter L. said, productivity/performance is a different matter with its own recourse. Wage theft is a massive problem internationally and in NZ. According to a Stuff journalist, it is even a business model for some in the hospitality industry, which is responsible for a third of complaints to the Labour Inspectorate. Let's hope you are a different Alistair Rowe to the one listed as the CEO at Restaurant Association of New Zealand on LinkedIn.

Chris L.
29 May 2021
Agriculture seasonal workers - power imbalance

More awareness and responsibility needs to be taken by relevant government departments. We alerted the relevant govt agency about our concerns re living and working conditions of some seasonal workers under the RSE scheme. The response was "that's a matter for the employer to deal with and the workers should discuss with employer". We were gobsmacked to see that a govt dept had no understanding of the powerful position an employer has in working relationships, and how dependent the workers were on him.

John Boyes
29 May 2021
Slave Labour

Some of these "slave drivers" are from countries that this is the norm and will try and use the same system in our country and amazingly often get away with it. Government depts are notorious for putting things in the "to hard basket" when it suits them.

Deb G.
29 May 2021
Slow residency decisions fuels toxic employers

I am seeing many examples of companies with the worst reputation as employers getting migrant workers. I cannot share the names of the companies to protect the workers in those companies, but have heard dozens of quotes from employers to highly skilled migrant workers. Here are a couple to give you a flavour: "Don't think you can cross me. I can get a container load of migrants to replace you." "I know you are friends with this worker who left. I will destroy him and use my contacts in Immigration NZ to get him deported. I will destroy the company he has gone to work for. If you talk to him I will destroy your career here".

Speeding up the residency process will take some of the power out of the hands of these abusive employers.

B A S.
29 May 2021
So many big US based companies

like Nike and Silicon Valley big tech use cheap labour. Perhaps a bit of manufacturer 'fact checking' is needed.

Graeme and Sue T.
29 May 2021
Nail bars

I agree with Lynn. I have a concern about the staff in some nail bars as to their wages and living conditions.

Lynn L.
29 May 2021
Nail Bars

How can I be sure that the Nail Bar I want to go to is paying its employees a fair wage? It's no use just asking the employee, because the employer is always present. Is there an MBIE list, like the food grading for restaurants, which can be displayed? Lynn

Frank - Consumer staff
02 Jun 2021
Re: Nail Bars

Hi Lynn

You can check out Employment NZ’s list of employers who have breached minimum employment standards and have been stood-down from the ability to support visa applications for migrant workers. It’s published every Wednesday on Employment NZ's website. The list dated 26 May has one nail salon.

Marianette Moller
06 Jun 2021
Breaches of minimum employment standards

I looked on Employment New Zealand's web site, but couldn't find the list of the employers that breached the employment standards. Do you have to sign up for the newsletter to get this?

Peter R.
07 Jun 2021
How to find ... for Marianette Moller

I googled Employment NZ; scrolled to Employment Relations Authority>NZ; scrolled to the bottom and found "Still haven't found what you're looking for?" where I entered "breach of minimum employment standards" and found a page entitled "Search Results." I scrolled down to "Employers Who Have Breached Minimum Employment Standards" and clicking this, took me to a page with the same title. When you scroll down to a heading entitled "Employers on Stand Down" you will find "Published Stand Down Report" (PDF 239KB) Click on that and all will be revealed.
(Phew ! There's got to be a quicker/better way to get there.)