Final chance to support proposed legislation to transform NZ supply chains and address slavery.

05 Jun 2022 by World Vision
Final chance to support proposed legislation to transform NZ supply chains and address slavery.

Final chance to support proposed legislation to transform NZ supply chains and address slavery.
New Zealanders have just a few more days to have their say on proposed legislation to transform the business landscape and eliminate modern slavery from local supply chains.

The government is currently seeking public views on proposed legislation to address modern slavery in an effort to achieve freedom, fairness, and dignity in New Zealand business operations.

Modern slavery includes practices such as forced labour, child labour, debt bondage, and human trafficking. Globally, around 40 million people are victims of modern slavery – that’s one in every 200 people. A quarter of those in modern slavery are children.

World Vision’s Head of Advocacy, Rebekah Armstrong is urging New Zealanders, and particularly New Zealand companies, to have their say before the consultation period closes on June 7.

“This legislation will result in profound changes that will dramatically alter the business landscape and help root out modern slavery in New Zealand supply chains.

“Currently, many New Zealand companies have no visibility of modern slavery in their supply chains and could be unwittingly helping to facilitate the practice through their procurement systems and business relationships,” she says.

The proposed legislation would require all businesses and other entities, such as Government and not-for-profits, to take reasonable action if they become aware of modern slavery in international or domestic supply chains.

It outlines a set of graduated responsibilities that increase according to an entity’s size and revenue.

Medium and large companies would have to disclose how they are addressing modern slavery through their supply chain practice, and large companies would have to undertake mandatory due diligence to prevent, mitigate and remedy modern slavery across international operations and supply chains, along with worker exploitation in domestic supply chains.

Armstrong says World Vision is confident the proposed legislation will benefit New Zealand businesses, consumers, and the 40million people worldwide who are entrapped in modern slavery.

More than 100 New Zealand companies have already expressed their support for new laws by signing an open letter to the Government calling for legislation to address modern slavery.

One of those is wine retailer, 27 Seconds. Co—founder Alanna Chapman says legislation will provide business with the framework it needs to implement changes.

“We believe that legislation will be a critical lever in triggering a change in the way that businesses approach their supply chains. It removes the option to choose not to look too closely at the labour practices in the facilities that help to create products,” she says.

The New Zealand Green Business Council agrees. Its chief executive, Andrew Eagles, says research shows that nearly 20% of forced labour worldwide occurs in the construction industry.

“The dirty, difficult-to-trace supply chain of materials involving modern slavery runs from mines, forests, mills, and factories to building sites around the world. Undoubtedly, this includes New Zealand and we’re working hard to ensure that we get modern slavery out of our buildings,” he says.

EY’s Director Climate Change and Sustainability Services, Gerri Ward, believes legislation is needed to guide the business community.

“Consumers and businesses in Aotearoa New Zealand are often in the dark about the true impact of their purchases. Understanding and transparency is the first critical step in empowering and enabling better procurement decisions. Legislation is a compelling driver to provide clarity and impetus to those abetting the exacerbation of modern slavery in supply chains,” she says.

Businesses and other interested parties have until June 7, 2022 to make a submission on the proposed legislation.

Submissions can be made via World Vision at