The Petitions Committee has responded to the petition of World Vision and Trade Aid and recommends the Government bring legislation addressing modern slavery before the house as soon as possible allowing for adequate policy development and public consideration.
The Petitions Committee report recommended the Government consider the recommendations put forward by World Vision, Trade Aid and the Human Rights Commission in the development of legislation and outlined that the committee was pleased that the UN guiding principles, overseas legislative regimes as well as public consultation are already being incorporated into the development of potential legislation.
“We welcome the Petitions Committee’s endorsement of legislation addressing modern slavery going before the House as soon as possible. World Vision is committed to support the New Zealand Government to put the best legislation possible, in place,” says Executive Director of World Vision, Grant Bayldon.
Saunoamaali’i Sumeo, Equal Employment Opportunities Commissioner at the Human Rights Commission agrees. “This is such a great outcome. Now more than ever, we need legislation to identify, address, and eliminate modern slavery occurring across supply chains in Aotearoa.
“Stamping out modern slavery and exploitation is complex and requires a coordinated response between government, businesses, unions, communities, and NGOs. The Human Rights Commission is committed to assisting in this process.
Trade Aid CEO Geoff White says modern slavery legislation is long overdue in New Zealand.
“New Zealanders and the business community support this legislation and we welcome the Government taking action. We look forward to meaningful legislation that helps to eliminate the risk of modern slavery in our supply chains, ” he says.
Here is a recap on what has happened to date:
- On 16 March 2021, World Vision, Trade Aid and Walk Free coordinated an Open Letter signed by over 100 NZ companies in support of modern slavery legislation and delivered to Minister Wood at Parliament.
- In June 2021, World Vision and Trade Aid presented a petition to Parliament signed by over 37,000 New Zealanders calling for modern slavery legislation.
- On 18 November 2021, World Vision and Trade Aid made an oral submission to the Petitions Committee. The NZ Human Rights Commission and MBIE also provided evidence.
- In February 2022, the report in response to World Vision and Trade Aid’s submissions to the Select Committee called on the New Zealand Government to bring legislation before the House as soon as possible.
At the heart of any legislation, we must not forget that everyone has the human right to fair and just working conditions and to live free from inhuman and degrading treatment,” adds Ms Sumeo.