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New Poll Shows 8 Out Of 10 New Zealanders Support New Law To Tackle Modern Slavery

A nationwide poll shows strong support amongst New Zealanders (81%) for legislation to address modern slavery in supply chains.

The poll carried out by Talbot Mills Research and released today by World Vision New Zealand shows widespread support across age groups and voter preferences.

World Vision New Zealand’s National Director, Grant Bayldon, is thrilled at the sheer scale of support for legislation to require Kiwi businesses to identify and take action against modern slavery.

“New Zealanders are fair and compassionate people, and this is clearly something they feel strongly about. We hope MPs of all persuasions recognise this and will support a law that ensures people everywhere are rewarded fairly for the work they do,” he says.

Bayldon says it’s encouraging to see that support for legislation to address modern slavery comes from across the political spectrum with a majority of National, Labour, Greens and Act voters all either ‘supporting’ or ‘strongly supporting’ new laws that require businesses to verify the absence of modern slavery in their supply chain.

The poll, undertaken in February 2023, follows Government consultation on a proposed law in which 90% of the more than 5,600 submitters supported a requirement for all entities to ‘take reasonable and proportionate action’ to address modern slavery.

A petition, signed by more than 37,000 people, in 2021 also indicated a high level of support for legislation.

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“New Zealanders and the business community want action, accountability, and clear direction to address modern slavery. Our business community believes in fairness and dignity for workers everywhere and they want this enshrined in legislation.

“There’s such a tidal wave of support for this legislation that it’s incumbent on all political parties to get this through the House in 2023,” Bayldon says.

He says progress has already been made to form the basis of a bill that represents innovative thinking and cross-sector alignment to address modern slavery and worker exploitation.

Aotearoa New Zealand lags behind other like-minded countries in introducing legislation to address modern slavery. Australia, the UK, European nations and parts of North America have already taken action, and many New Zealand businesses already have to comply with modern slavery law in these jurisdictions.

Bayldon says this provides further impetus for the Government to press on and design and implement a law that works for New Zealand.

“The number of people trapped in modern slavery now sits at a staggering 50 million. It’s incumbent on the Government to act swiftly to ensure everyone is safe and rewarded fairly for their work,” Bayldon says. 

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