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World Vision Calls On NZ Government To Introduce A Strong And Robust Modern Slavery Act

Tomorrow, Thursday 18 November, World Vision and Trade Aid will present evidence to the Petitions Committee in support of a strong and robust Modern Slavery Act for New Zealand.

This comes after 37,000 people signed a petition in support of a New Zealand Modern Slavery Act, and over 100 businesses signed an open letter requesting the same.

In the oral submission, World Vision will outline the need for a law that goes beyond transparency and requires action. The humanitarian agency will call for mandatory human rights due diligence, which would require entities to identify, prevent, mitigate and account for their adverse impacts on human rights in their operations and supply chains. This is in line with developments overseas and international best practice.

The invitation to make an oral submission follows Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment (MBIE) acknowledgement last month that ‘there is a gap in New Zealand’s measures regarding modern slavery in international supply chains’. It said that ‘tackling modern slavery will take a collective global effort, with a particular focus on global supply chains at the national level’.

World Vision welcomed this position from MBIE.

"Today we should not be deciding if we need a Modern Slavery Act, but how we can design the best legislation for a New Zealand context that addresses exploitation and modern slavery. The Government have said that they will be consulting on policy options addressing modern slavery in early 2022,” says World Vision New Zealand’s Head of Advocacy, Rebekah Armstrong.

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During the oral submission, which will be shared live at 3pm on the Petitions Committee’s Facebook page, World Vision and Trade Aid will ask that a Modern Slavery Act builds on the strengths and shortcomings of the development of this law internationally and focuses on justice and remedy for survivors of modern slavery.

“Risk to people, not risk to business needs to be the focus of New Zealand’s modern slavery legislation,” says Armstrong. “These risks are even greater during a pandemic where almost half the global workforce have had their livelihoods threatened with insecure work.”

Modern slavery and due diligence laws are the norm in many other countries and it’s time for New Zealand to do the right thing and be part of the solution in eliminating modern slavery from supply chains,” Armstrong adds.

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