International Labour Organization

New Zealand is a founding member of the International Labour Organization (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 is 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:

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 the ILO constitution

Article 22 reports

As a member of the ILO, New Zealand is required to report on its application of ratified ILO conventions. We produce reports annually on the current state of New Zealand’s law, policy and practice in relation to the given Conventions.

Article 19 reports

As a member of the ILO, New Zealand is required to report annually on the position of its law and practice in relation to unratified instruments including conventions and recommendations. The set of instruments for each General Survey are focused on a particular subject matter.

Declaration reports

The follow-up to the ILO Declaration on Fundamental Principles and Rights at Work specifies that all member States which have not ratified a core fundamental convention will have to submit an annual report on progress toward implementing the principles set out in said unratified fundamental convention(s).

New Zealand's participation in ILO

ILO membership involves regular interactions between the Government, BusinessNZ and the New Zealand Council of Trade Unions, as well as participation in the ILO’s Governing Body, its annual International Labour Conference and regional meetings. Through these, New Zealand actively participates in setting both international labour standards and the Organization’s supervisory processes, as well as negotiating on issues related to the ILO's future and strategic direction.

ILO Conventions ratified by New Zealand

New Zealand has ratified, and is bound by many ILO Conventions.

This publication outlines the conventions New Zealand has ratified and the agencies that administer them. It also provides a brief outline of how they are implemented in New Zealand and includes 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(external link)  — ILO website

Last updated: 14 May 2024