Consultation on Modern Slavery and Worker Exploitation

Days left

10
open
Submissions due: 07 June 2022, 5pm

We are seeking feedback on a legislative response to Modern Slavery and Worker Exploitation, Forced Labour, People Trafficking and Slavery.

In Aotearoa New Zealand, we aim to treat people fairly and with dignity.

Modern Slavery and Worker Exploitation are serious forms of exploitation seen internationally and within New Zealand. Addressing these practices requires a whole-of-society response, undertaken through strong partnerships across government agencies and with civil society, businesses, unions, academia and international partners.

What are we proposing? 

We are seeking feedback on new legislation that aims to achieve freedom, fairness and dignity in the operations and supply chains of entities and to address modern slavery and worker exploitation, both in New Zealand and internationally.  

The proposal would create new responsibilities across the operations and supply chains of all types of organisations in New Zealand, with more responsibilities for larger organisations:

  • All organisations would be required to take action if they become aware of modern slavery or worker exploitation
  • Medium and large organisations would be required to disclose the steps they are taking
  • Large organisations and those with control over New Zealand employers would be required to undertake due diligence.

The primary objective for the proposals set out to:

  • reduce modern slavery and worker exploitation in New Zealand and elsewhere, helping to build practices based on fairness and respect.

The secondary objectives that support this primary objective are to:

  • enhance New Zealand’s international reputation as a country that supports human rights and transparency
  • strengthen New Zealand’s international brand and make it easier for our businesses to continue to trade with the world
  • support consumers to make more informed choices in relation to modern slavery and worker exploitation risks associated with good and services
  • drive culture and behaviour changes in entities which lead to more responsible and sustainable practices
  • level the playing field for entities which act responsibly across their operations and supply chains.

The legislation would only be one part of the picture and it will need to be accompanied by extensive promotion, guidance and support for entities. We need to build a collective understanding of the issues and a long-lasting culture change which encourages collaboration.

What we want to know

We want to know how best to facilitate lasting cultural change and encourage best practice to support freedom, fairness and human dignity across the operations and supply chains of entities.

We also want to know about the impact of the proposals on victims and survivors, entities of all types, and individuals. We want to know what you think the benefits of the proposals and options might be, as well as their costs. We also want your ideas about how the proposals and options could be designed and implemented effectively.

Definition of modern slavery

Modern slavery is severe exploitation that a person cannot leave due to threats, violence or deception. It includes forced labour, debt bondage, forced marriage, slavery, and human trafficking.

Definition of worker exploitation

Worker exploitation in this proposal includes non-minor breaches of employment standards in New Zealand.

Background

Modern slavery and worker exploitation have no place here or overseas. Yet, the International Labour Organization estimates there are 40 million victims of modern slavery in the world, while in New Zealand numerous cases of exploitation have been identified in recent years.

Modern slavery and worker exploitation, whether it occurs here or overseas, negatively impacts us all. Victims and survivors of modern slavery and worker exploitation can face severe physical and emotional harm that can last for the rest of their lives. 

The use of modern slavery and worker exploitation in supply chains also creates an environment based on unfair competition, in which exploitative practices can be leveraged to get ahead. While more New Zealanders want to buy from responsible businesses and support responsible entities, it is not always easy to determine which organisations have put effective measures in place. Many are making claims about their practices, but the vast majority of people will not be in a position to verify those claims.

Find out more about Modern Slavery and Worker Exploitation

How is New Zealand currently addressing Modern Slavery and Worker Exploitation? 

In 2021, the Government committed to a Plan of Action against Forced Labour, People Trafficking and Slavery. This sets out a high-level framework for the actions that agencies will take over 5 years to 2025, to combat these practices. You can read more about this work at the link below:

Plan of action against forced labour, people trafficking and slavery 

Modern Slavery and Worker Exploitation consultation announcement
Messages from the Modern Slavery Leadership Advisory Group
Modern Slavery and Worker Exploitation Consultation Webinar

Consultation documents

How to make a submission

How to make a submission and complete a survey

Answer a short survey

If you’re short on time, read the summary of proposals and complete a short survey. It shouldn’t take more than 20 minutes and can be anonymous.

Survey: Legislative options to address modern slavery and worker exploitation

The survey closes on 7 June 2022 at 5pm. 

Provide a submission via the simplified questionnaire

Provide a detailed submission

The discussion document has questions throughout on options and proposals. You can download the submission form. If you cannot use the template, you can write your submission on a blank document. If you do this, please clearly indicate which question number you are responding to.

You do not need to answer all questions and can provide more comments on issues you believe are relevant outside of the questions. Your submission can be anonymous, and you can choose not to provide contact details.

Submissions are due by 5pm on 7 June 2022

You can email your submission to modernslavery@mbie.govt.nz, or post it to:

International Labour Policy 
Workplace Relations and Safety Policy 
Ministry of Business, Innovation & Employment 
PO Box 1473 
Wellington 6140 

What happens after you have sent your submission?

Officials from the policy team will collect all submissions sent by the closing date.

These submissions will be analysed and will help to inform final decisions.

We may contact submitters directly if we require clarification on their submission or would like further information from them, if they have provided contact details.

If the Government subsequently introduces legislation to address Modern Slavery and Worker Exploitation, members of the public will have a further opportunity for engagement through select committee examination of the draft bill.

Release of information

We may publish submissions, or a summary of these, on our website. When you make a submission, MBIE will consider that you have consented to it being published on the MBIE website, unless you clearly state otherwise. If your submission contains any information that is confidential or that you do not want published, you can say this in your submission.

We will not publish any survey responses we receive.

Submissions and survey responses may be requested under the Official Information Act 1992. MBIE will seek to consult with submitters when responding to any such requests. If you object to the release of information in your submission, MBIE will take that into account.

The Privacy Act 2020 applies to submissions and survey responses. Any personal information you supply to MBIE in the course of making a submission will only be known by the project team and used for developing policy advice relating to this project. Please clearly indicate if you do not wish your name, or any other personal information, to be included in any summary of submissions that MBIE may publish.

Questions

If you have any questions about the consultation process or the options for change, please email us at modernslavery@mbie.govt.nz

Last updated: 12 May 2022