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Minister’s non-existent ‘crackdown’ on migrant worker abuse

Immigration Spokesperson

01 November 2012 MEDIA STATEMENT

Minister’s non-existent ‘crackdown’ on migrant worker abuse exposed

The Government has misled New Zealanders by publicly talking up its promise to crackdown on migrant worker abuse when in fact it is turning a blind eye to serious breaches of our labour laws, says Labour’s Immigration spokesperson Darien Fenton.

TVNZ last night revealed that two months after it exposed Auckland restaurants paying migrant workers less than the minimum wage, the number of labour inspections have been reduced, no additional Labour Inspectors have been employed and no prosecutions have been undertaken.

"This is incredibly disappointing. At the time, Labour Minister Kate Wilkinson promised to investigate and to take action. What we find now is that the Government is unable to even tell us how many complaints have been made by workers on temporary work visas or how many investigations have been carried out.

“This is why Labour wants an inquiry into the extent of this kind of abuse and a proper response to the threat this poses to all New Zealand workers.

“National is content to sit back and wait for complaints to come its way or let others, like TVNZ, do its work. That’s not good enough. Kiwis expect better.

“Workers expect this Government to protect their rights and to act when they are mistreated. Breaches of employment laws and minimum wage need to be treated as the crimes they are, not simply shrugged off or ignored,” said Darien Fenton.

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