International Labour Organisation

New Zealand is a founding member of the International Labour Organisation (ILO) which is the key global labour body and source of international labour law.

About the ILO and its role

The ILO was established in 1919 by the then League of Nations. After the formation of the United Nations (UN) in 1946, it became one of the first specialist UN agencies.

The ILO is based in Geneva, Switzerland. Its 3000 staff cover 5 regional offices (Europe, Americas, Middle East, Asia-Pacific, and Africa) and some 60 area or branch offices.

The work of the ILO is to:

  • promote employment rights
  • set international labour standards
  • encourage employment opportunities
  • enhance social protection
  • conduct extensive research and technical co-operation activities, including vocational training and management development.

A tripartite partnership

New Zealand was a founding member of the ILO and has had a strong association with it throughout its history.

ILO membership involves partnership between the Government and the most representative organisations of employers and workers in New Zealand: the New Zealand Council of Trade Unions(external link) and BusinessNZ(external link).

This tripartite partnership of government, employers and workers is fundamental to New Zealand’s ILO activities. A tripartite delegation attends the annual International Labour Conference and all reporting to the ILO is undertaken on a tripartite basis.

Reporting under Article 22 of the ILO constitution

As a member of the ILO, New Zealand is required to report on its application of ILO Conventions. We produce reports that are statements of current law, policy and practice in New Zealand in relation to the Conventions’ requirements.

Reports are produced on a cyclical basis and submitted to the ILO after comment from the tripartite partners and ministerial approval.

If you would like copies of the reports or more information about New Zealand’s obligations as a member of the ILO contact

New Zealand's participation in ILO

New Zealand maintains an active and visible presence in the ILO and has sent tripartite delegations to the International Labour Conference since 1935.

We sit within the Asia-Pacific Regional Grouping(external link) of the ILO member states. We regularly attend ILO Governing Body and regional meetings where we participate in setting international labour standards and supervisory processes, as well as issues relating to the ILO's future and strategic direction.

ILO Conventions ratified by New Zealand

New Zealand has ratified, and is bound by, a significant body of ILO Conventions.

This publication outlines the conventions New Zealand has ratified and the agencies that administer them and provides a brief outline of how they are implemented in New Zealand, including references to relevant legislation.

International Labour Conventions ratified by New Zealand [PDF, 778 KB]

The publication is a guide only and should not be used as a substitute for the Convention texts or for New Zealand legislation.

Full text versions of Conventions are available from the ILO.(external link)