More than 5,000 New Zealanders submit to government in support of legislation to address modern slavery.
On the 15th of September the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment (MBIE) released the Summary of Feedback on submissions received as part of consultation on a proposal to address modern slavery and worker exploitation.
A massive 5,600 submissions were received and 90% of these were supportive of all entities being required to take action to address modern slavery.
“This level of engagement to the government’s proposal shows that New Zealanders are serious in wanting change to the current global situation of modern slavery”, says Trade Aid’s CEO Geoff White. “When we add this scale of action to the 37,000 strong petition we saw in 2021, there’s a clear mandate for the government now to create legislation that has real potential to eliminate slavery in supply chains.”
Back in April 2022, Trade Aid, in collaboration with World Vision and Tearfund, encouraged Kiwis to submit to support legislation in three key areas. That legislation would apply to all entities of all sizes, that there should be penalties for non-compliance to create a level playing field for those businesses already acting against modern slavery, and the need for due diligence in uncovering modern slavery in supply chains with the reports publicly available to support consumers in their purchasing decisions. Trade Aid was pleased to see that these recommendations were supported by the majority of submitters and will be taken seriously in the creation of New Zealand’s legislation.
There was also agreement from most submitters that businesses should be supported with guidance on reporting requirements as well as training as they embark on reducing the risks of modern slavery in their supply chains.
“We wish to thank the thousands of submitters who supported this call to action in 2022,” says Geoff White. “Our voice has been heard and we’re now one step closer to reducing modern slavery in New Zealand supply chains.”
On the heels of this feedback, Trade Aid urges swift action by the government to implement legislation that will take New Zealand from lagging behind its counterparts, to leading the way with world-class high-quality high impact legislation.
The next steps are for the Summary of Feedback to be presented to the Minister for Workplace Relations and Safety, Hon. Michael Wood, and officials will seek his direction on policy proposals.