Commentary: Australia's Modern Slavery Act will significantly impact some New Zealand big businesses

Author: Rebekah Armstrong, NZ Herald, Published on: 14 December 2018

"Rebekah Armstrong: What the Australian Modern Slavery Act will mean for big Kiwi businesses" 12 December 2018

Australia has a Modern Slavery Act....

...It will affect approximately 3000 Australian Businesses and 500+ New Zealand businesses carrying on business in Australia.

...While easy to think modern slavery only affects New Zealand companies that have supply chains overseas...[t]he Worker Exploitation Report 2016 showed that worker exploitation with aspects of slavery related practice were taking place in our primary industries including construction, dairy, fishing, international education, horticulture and viticulture and retail.

...The Act will have a significant impact on some of New Zealand's big businesses, requiring them to understand their supply chain in a way they have not before. Human rights lie at the heart of the Act and it puts an onus on businesses to uphold these.

On the 70th anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, it is significant that companies are agreeing to uphold the rights and dignity of all people that come into contact with their business operation.

Guidance on forming a modern day slavery statement will be issued by the Australian Department of Home Affairs, but New Zealand companies wanting to front foot this issue should start by mapping out their supply chain and identifying human rights issues that may currently exist.

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