Kiwis show overwhelming support for government to introduce law to address modern slavery

02 Mar 2023
Kiwis show overwhelming support for government to introduce law to address modern slavery

A quick recap:

In 2021, over 37,000 Kiwis signed a petition calling on our government to introduce legislation to address modern slavery and worker exploitation in New Zealand’s supply chains. In May 2022, the government opened public consultation on the proposal and more than 5,100 of you made a submission using our template, which asked that the law:
  • Applies to all organisations: public, private, NGO sectors and to small, medium and large companies.
  • Provides for action, not just words; that organisations should undertake due diligence to identify risks of modern slavery and address what they find.
  • Includes penalties for non-compliance.
We are elated at the number of submissions and want to thank you for using your collective voice to advocate for fairness and dignity alongside people all over the world!

Here's the latest:

In September 2022, the government released the summary of public feedback which showed widespread support from New Zealand businesses and individuals to introduce law to address modern slavery.

This included high levels of support for all three of our asks which will ensure the law is robust and does what intends to do. The summary revealed that:
  • 90% of the more than 5,600 submitters supported a requirement for all entities to ‘take reasonable and proportionate action’ to address modern slavery;
  • 87% believed medium (>$20m) and large (>$50m) companies should be required to disclose the steps they’re taking in their supply chains;
  • 94% believed large companies should be required to meet due diligence requirements to address modern slavery.
There was also strong support for the introduction of penalties for organisations that do not comply; the need for a public register to record compliance; and for an oversight role such as a Modern Slavery Commissioner.

The Summary of Feedback was presented to the Minister for Workplace Relations and Safety, Hon. Michael Wood, for his consideration.

With the recent global estimates showing there are now 50 million people living in modern slavery – a rise of 10 million people in the past five years – the government is morally obliged to act. Thanks to all of you, it now has a clear mandate from Kiwis to introduce strong legislation to take action on modern slavery.

Next steps:

We were expecting the proposal for modern slavery legislation (Bill) to be introduced to Cabinet before the end of 2022, but unfortunately this has yet to happen. Once the draft Bill is approved by Cabinet, the Bill will be formally introduced to the House of Representatives (the house). You can read more about the process here.

We’re confident that politicians of all persuasions will use the tidal wave of support for this legislation as motivation to act swiftly to ensure New Zealand is no longer a global outlier but can proudly boast legislation that helps to prevent and eliminate modern slavery.

As the government is establishing its priorities for 2023, we believe modern slavery legislation will remain at the top of their list. Together, we can work to ensure people everywhere are rewarded fairly for the work they do and are treated with dignity.

In the meantime, here’s what you can do to continue supporting this legislation:
  • Continue to raise your voice in support of this law. There are many issues (covid, impending recession, the 2023 election etc.) that could detract from this law going ahead. It is important we ensure the government prioritises this law as part of its policy agenda.

  • Lobby your local MP. You can write to your local MP to make sure they support strong legislation that focuses on the dignity and safety of people in our supply chains.

  • Educate your friends and family. Want to know more about New Zealand’s connection to modern slavery? Check out our research on the advocacy page.

  • Participate in the legal process. When it comes time, draft submissions in response to the bills that come out and ensure that you advocate for strong and targeted legislation that really makes a difference.

  • Stay in touch! Make sure you’re signed up to receive World Vision’s advocacy emails to stay tuned as to how you can continue to champion fairness and dignity for everyone, no matter where they live.

For more information about modern slavery and New Zealanders’ connection to modern slavery through the products and services we use visit: