June 17, 2024

NZCTU presents Briefing for the Incoming Government

The New Zealand Council of Trade Unions has today provided its briefing for the incoming government.

NZCTU President Richard Wagstaff said since 2017, the country has made significant progress on a range of economic and social issues.  

“Under the last Government, many measures improved. Child poverty has fallen. Unemployment reached record lows. The minimum wage increased by 44 percent. Benefits were increased and linked to wages rather than inflation. Paid parental leave was extended to 26 weeks, and sick leave was doubled. All of these changes helped to deliver a more equitable Aotearoa and helped to ensure that some of the poorest New Zealanders had a real boost in their quality of life. We hope that the progress made to date continues under this new government. 

“New Zealand needs to become the best country in the world to be a worker, by creating good work, and building a more productive, sustainable, and inclusive economy.” 

 To continue making progress the incoming government should prioritise action in areas such as: 

  • Work to eliminate the barriers that disadvantage kaimahi M?ori  
  • Increasing the minimum wage to the living wage 
  • Continue working to improve pay equity 
  • Reform the Holidays Act 
  • Criminalising wage theft 
  • Introduce corporate manslaughter legislation 
  • Eliminate migrant labour exploitation 
  • Ratify all International Labour Organization fundamental conventions 
  • Increase the capacity of New Zealand’s labour and health and safety regulators 
  • Support vocational education and workforce development 
  • Continue to plan for just transitions 
  • Rebalancing the tax system 
  • Increase the supply of affordable housing 
  • Establish a Ministry of Green Works to close our infrastructure gap 
  • Improve competition in key sectors 

“There are also a range of areas where the CTU believes that the incoming governments agenda could do with fresh ideas. Reversing progress on honouring Te Tiriti o Waitangi; repealing the Fair Pay Agreements Act; reinstating 90-day trials for all businesses; continuing to misclassify employees as contractors; stopping further work on social income insurance; cutting public sector funding; and repealing the Reserve Bank’s employment mandate are not going to help. 

“If implemented, these policies will take New Zealand backwards. They represent outdated ideas that have been proven not to work.

“This briefing is just the start of the work that the incoming government will need to complete. There is much to do, and every day that action is delayed in these areas real workers and families suffer across New Zealand. The NZCTU wants to engage with government urgently on these issues and more.  

“We passionately believe in making New Zealand the best country in the world to be a worker through the creation of good work. Regardless of the differences between the trade union movement and the political parties that comprise the new government, we stand ready to work constructively with government, delivering positive policies that will make this aspiration a reality.” 

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