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Newly released research supports Trade Aid’s call for Modern Slavery Legislation
September 30, 2021
“New Zealand is increasingly out of step with legal advances in other countries” states the newly released White Paper by the University of Auckland Business School Centre for Research on Modern Slavery.
On June 29 2021 a 37,000 strong petition was handed over at Parliament Grounds urging the government to pass a Modern Slavery Act, legislation the research confirms is necessary to ensure New Zealand does not “fall behind the international trend to demand more private enterprises to protect human rights.”
Trade Aid’s 2007 petition, which gathered 17,000 signatures and urged a ban on slave-made products entering New Zealand, is listed in the research as the first of many initiatives to put pressure on the government to address New Zealand’s role as a consumer of slave-made products. Trade Aid’s petition was followed over the next ten years by a range of members’ bills, which were all voted down.
Trade Aid’s 2021 petition, part of a joint campaign run with World Vision New Zealand, is currently with the Petitions Committee. The joint submission, which can be viewed here, contains a number of recommendations to achieve unique and effective New Zealand legislation.
With many recommendations in common, one of the key recommendations that the Centre for Research on Modern Slavery lists is the inclusion of ‘Due Diligence’ in the legislation. This will be an essential component if New Zealand is to learn from the mistakes of other countries’ earlier legislation. Due diligence is in contrast to ‘Transparency reporting’, where entities can (and do) fulfil their reporting requirements by admitting that they have not taken any preventative steps. Due diligence legislation requires companies to undertake responsible business activity and report on their human rights activities.
Trade Aid has been campaigning since it was founded in New Zealand in 1973 for businesses to take responsibility for the conditions their products are made in. With an increasing number of voices joining the call for corporate accountability in global supply chains, 2021 may become known as the year that New Zealand took action, and saw real legislative change.
Watch this space. We’ll keep you updated on the progress of the Modern Slavery campaign progress through Parliament and let you know how and when we need you to once again add your voice.
Click here to read the full White Paper from The Centre for Research on Modern Slavery, and a summary of that Paper.
Click here to learn more about the 2021 Modern Slavery Act Campaign.
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