A quick guide to submitting on the proposed Modern Slavery legislation

A piece of bright yellow paper surrounded by paper clips

Photo by Tamanna Rumee on Unsplash

Modern Slavery. Worker exploitation. Profits over people. These aren’t things we Kiwis tend to want to support. However New Zealand currently doesn’t have a law requiring businesses to prevent modern slavery in their supply chains. Previous attempts to address this have failed to gain traction.

But with other countries starting to introduce legal requirements and growing public and business support, times could be changing, and you could help make it happen.

A legislative response to modern slavery is currently being consulted on. Here’s a quick guide to what it’s about, why you should care, and what difference you can make.

Estimated read time: 3 minutes

What is Modern Slavery?

Essentially, modern slavery is “severe exploitation that a person cannot leave due to threats, violence or deception.”¹ There are many products at risk for modern slavery occurring in their supply chains – from food items and clothing, through to smartphones.² Victims are often tricked into situations where they endure harsh treatment and are unable to leave.

There are an estimated 24.9 million people in forced labour worldwide and it’s not just an overseas issue. It’s happened here in New Zealand in recent years too.

What is being proposed?

Businesses and other organisations would be legally required to take action if they know of modern slavery being used in their operations or supply chains. Those with $20m+ revenue would also need to report on what steps they are taking. Those with $50m+ revenue would need to take preventive actions to ensure modern slavery doesn’t occur in the first place.

This approach is being proposed by the Ministry of Business, Innovation, & Employment (MBIE). But the legislation hasn’t been written yet, which brings us to…

How does giving my feedback help?

Feedback received from the public will inform the decisions being made. It can help shape the law and how it will work in practice.

Legislation to address modern slavery would impact all of us and could make a real difference if implemented well. For everyday shoppers, it should be easier to know which brands align with your values. If you represent a business, legislation could affect how you operate, and level the field by ensuring worker exploitation isn’t a way to cut costs.

If you think New Zealand needs to address modern slavery, make a submission to show your support and give your ideas on how it could work. Find out more about what’s being proposed at the consultation page or through this poster summary.

How do I make a submission?

There are a bunch of options….

If you’re short on time, you can submit a pre-written submission:

If you have time to make your own submission, you can:

After submitting, if you’d like to spread the word to your social networks use the hashtag #submittosupport

Note that submissions (except survey responses) may be published on the MBIE website - see more at the end of this section.

What happens next?

Consultation is open until 7th June 2022, 5pm. The submissions will then be analysed and used to inform the decisions being made.

If the government goes ahead with introducing legislation, there will be another opportunity to give feedback when a bill has been drafted.


Just Kai provides consumer advice and research on slave-free food supply chains.
Check out our buying guides and blog for more information.

Notes

  1. Consultation on Modern Slavery and Worker Exploitation | Ministry of Business, Innovation & Employment (mbie.govt.nz)
  2. Downloads | Global Slavery Index