Good Business: The New Incorporated Societies Act 2022

The new Incorporated Societies Act 2022 (“the Act”) was passed by Parliament in 2022. The Act will take effect from October 2023 and the final Regulations will be passed by September 2023.

The new Act will focus on improving Incorporated Society governance by retaining the best of the 1908 Act and codifying case law in the new Act.

What is an Incorporated Society?
An Incorporated Society is a membership-based organisation that exists for a lawful purpose other than making a profit. It is an incorporated body with legal identity of its own and thus ensure perpetual succession even though its membership may change. Members are not responsible for debts or other obligations that the society takes on. The activities are limited by the Act and the rules of the organisation.

What are the main changes?
The new Act will require primarily the following:
1. Constitutions will have to be compliant with the new Act containing specific content relating to the composition, roles, powers, functions, and procedures of the committee/board. This is a significant change compared to the old Act.
2. Clearer governance arrangements are required with 3 officers required to manage the affairs of the society with duties similar to that contained in the Companies Act 1993, such as duty to act in good faith, in the best interest of the society, exercise reasonable care and diligence, and officers will be liable for any breach of those duties.
3. Qualification of officers will be based on an officer being a natural person, and not disqualified on the basis of being an undischarged bankrupt, previously convicted of dishonest offences etc.
4. Officers have to disclose conflicts of interests where they might be obtaining a benefit and there should be a clear process managing this situation.
5. Dispute resolution procedures must be in place to deal with member grievances and complaints.
6. Transparency and accountability in the form of members being able to access information about the society and there are further requirements around financial reporting and return filing.

The next steps
All existing Incorporated Societies will have to re-register to continue as an Incorporated Society and failure to re-register will result in removal form the Register. Applications to be reregistered can only be made after October 2023 until April 2026.

New members must consent before joining and accurate records must be kept.

There are new accounting standards, financial reporting and annual return details and audit requirements.

The Government is still finalising the Regulations to sit alongside the new Act and it is the Regulations that will provide the most guidance as to what is actually required in the constitution. The finalised Regulations will be published around September 2023.

This is a good opportunity to review your Incorporated Society’s Constitution, make the necessary amendments, prepare for re-registration, and ensure that your society will be able to comply with the new Act. We have a team ready to assist you if this task seems too daunting to tackle on your own.

If you have any questions or need any advice, please contact us for an appointment T:06 349 0090 or email

Joamari Van der Walt │ LLB │ BComm(Econ)-Law (Stellenbosch) │

Disclaimer: This publication should not be construed or acted on as legal advice. It is brief and general in nature. Specific advice should be sought.

Good Business: Employment Law – Basics of Dismissal

Employment Law – Basics of Dismissal

Ending an employee’s employment is not straightforward. There are many steps an employer must follow before they can tell an employee that they are dismissed. Those steps are different depending on the proposed reason for dismissing the employee.

Reasons for Dismissal

There are many reasons why an employer may want to dismiss an employee, including but not limited to:
• Performance issues;
• Repeated misconduct;
• Serious misconduct;
• Health reasons; and
• Restructuring/Redundancy.

How should an employer conduct themselves?

Throughout the dismissal process, an employer must act in good faith, have a good reason to do what they are doing, follow a fair and reasonable process and have an open mind when dealing with the issue; to ensure no outcomes are predetermined.

If an employer fails to conduct themselves in the manner above, the employee may be able to bring a personal grievance against the employer.

What is the employer’s first step?

No matter the proposed reason for dismissing an employee, as a start the employer should familiarise themselves with the employee’s individual employment agreement (“IEA”) or collective employment agreement (“CEA”).

There are certain clauses in an IEA/CEA that may be applicable to the situation. For example stand-downs/suspensions, notice periods, examples of misconduct and/or serious misconduct, redundancy, consultation obligations.

By way of example, if an employer needs to suspend an employee to investigate an issue in the workplace, the employer must abide by what the IEA/CEA says in respect of suspension. If the IEA/CEA does not contain a suspension clause, it can be more difficult to suspend the employee.

How should an employer engage with the employee at the start?

Ideally, an employer will make first contact with the employee in written form; that may be a letter or an email. The email/letter needs to provide the employee with all the relevant information that is applicable to the situation.

For example, if an incident has occurred in the workplace warranting an investigation, an employee must provide the employee with all the details surrounding the incident ( that may be witness statements, video recordings etc.), what the employer’s process will be (internal or external investigation), whether the employee is to be stood down, who the employee’s point of contact is and that the employee is entitled to take advice and/or bring representation to any meetings that occur.

There should be minutes taken of all meetings.. Alternatively, the meetings can be recorded digitally if all parties agree.

What happens if the employee does not respond to the employer’s communications?

An employer must endeavour to receive a response from the employee. If an employee is ignoring requests to meet or comment on issues/an incident, an employer is entitled to make a decision in their absence.

Before a decision is made, the employer must advise the employee of their intention to make a decision in their absence.

The employer has come to a decision, what is next?

Once the employer has made a decision, they must provide that outcome to the employee and seek comments from the employee. Depending on the outcome, the employer may be able to dismiss the employee without notice. If so, the employee is required to leave the workplace immediately and will not be paid for any notice period.

Note: an employee is still entitled to any entitlements (such as holidays etc.) they are owed, which must be paid out in their final pay.


An employer cannot dismiss an employee without following a fair and reasonable process. Throughout the process the employer must act in good faith.

The process of dismissal can be daunting for employers. There are risks throughout the process that may lead to liability for the employer if they are not conducted properly. An employer’s best bet at reducing that risk is to seek employment advice before engaging in the process.
If you have any questions or need any employment advice, please contact us for an appointment T:06 349 0090 or email

Matt Bouzaid LLB Bcom

Disclaimer: This publication should not be construed or acted on as legal advice. It is brief and general in nature. Specific advice should be sought.


Good Business: Enduring Powers of Attorney



There are a number of essential legal documents which everybody should have – Enduring Powers of Attorney rank highly on that list.

What are Enduring Powers of Attorney?

Enduring Powers of Attorney (“EPA”) are documents giving legal authority to someone (your attorney) to make decisions on your behalf. They allow your attorney to continue acting when you are no longer able to make or communicate decisions for yourself.

There are two types of EPA – Property and Personal Care and Welfare.

1.  Property: Your property in terms of an EPA means anything you own, including land or buildings, money, investments, vehicles, machinery and household effects.

When making an EPA for Property you can restrict your attorney’s authority to specific items of property, or you can give your attorney general authority to deal with all of your property.

You must also choose when your attorney’s authority is activated. You can decide that your attorney only has authority to act if you are mentally incapable (in which case your attorney will need to obtain a medical certificate confirming your lack capacity prior to acting) or your attorney’s authority can come into effect immediately on signing the EPA. This can avoid the need for a medical certificate and can be convenient if you are overseas or temporarily unavailable to deal with any particular matter.

You can appoint multiple attorneys for your property EPA and can stipulate whether they must act together (jointly) or if they can act separately (severally).

2.  Personal Care and Welfare: Your personal care and welfare attorney can make decisions regarding your care and welfare. For example, your attorney can decide where you will live and can make decisions to ensure you are being properly cared for.

An EPA for personal care and welfare will only come into effect if you become mentally incapable and are unable to make decisions regarding your care for yourself.
You can appoint one person to be your care and welfare attorney. You may appoint successor attorneys in the event that the appointment of your original attorney ends.

Why do I need Enduring Powers of Attorney?

Life can be uncertain and having EPAs in place can help ease the pressure on family members in the event of an unexpected illness or accident.

It is also generally a requirement of retirement villages and rest homes that their residents have EPAs.

If a person loses mental capacity, and does not have valid EPAs in place, often a family member needs to make an application to the Court for an order giving them authority to handle the person’s affairs. Ultimately, this is a time consuming and expensive process.

Who should I appoint as my attorney?

Your attorney should be someone you trust to understand and respect your wishes.

You can place an obligation on your attorney to consult with certain people and also to provide information to certain people regarding decisions they have made while acting as your attorney.

Your attorney has a duty to act in a manner which promotes your best interests at all times. They also have an obligation to use your property to promote and protect your best interests and, unless otherwise expressly stated, cannot use your property for the benefit of any other person, including themselves.

When does an EPA cease?

You may cancel or revoke your EPA at any time while you are still mentally competent. This can be done by issuing written notice of cancellation to your attorney.

An EPA will also cease once the donor (person who made the EPA) has died.

General Powers of Attorney

A general Power of Attorney can be put in place and be useful for periods of temporary absence overseas, or to allow someone to carry out a particular transaction on your behalf.

The powers provided for under a general Power of Attorney are not effective long term or in the event of the donor losing capacity, unlike an EPA which will continue, even in the event of loss of capacity, until such time as the donor revokes it.

How do I make an EPA?

Horsley Christie has an experienced and professional team of solicitors and legal executives who can discuss all of your options and assist you to put EPAs in place.

Please contact us if you wish to arrange an appointment. Phone: 06 349 0090. Email:

Amber Olsen

Disclaimer: This publication should not be construed or acted on as legal advice. It is brief and general in nature. Specific advice should be sought.

Have your say – the 2023 NZ Workplace Diversity Survey

Share your diversity views and win

We are helping Diversity Works New Zealand gain a deeper understanding of the diversity and inclusion issues that really matter to New Zealand businesses by asking our members to complete the 2023 New Zealand Workplace Diversity Survey. Everyone who completes the survey can enter the draw to win one of five $200 shopping vouchers. Plus, we will share the results of this important research with you later in the year. The survey closes on Friday, March 24 so have your say here.


A message from the ICC World Chambers Federation: Donate now to help earthquake recovery efforts

John W.H. Denton AO
ICC Secretary General

10 February 2022

Dear colleagues,

We are united in deep sorrow following the devastating earthquake this week in Türkiye and Syria.

ICC has expressed our heartfelt sympathies to members of our network affected by the tragedy while Nicolas Uribe, Chair of our ICC World Chambers Federation, has also communicated his sympathies on behalf of chambers worldwide.

We are now committed to taking action to support recovery efforts and will keep you updated on our progress.

Supporting recovery efforts

The death toll is rising every day and includes members of our extended ICC family and friends. With many more lives at risk from freezing temperatures and no access to basic shelter and supplies, humanitarian aid is desperately needed.

Reflecting the can-do power of the business and chamber network, in-kind aid and construction equipment has already been dispatched to the affected regions under the Disaster and Emergency Management Authority (AFAD) of Türkiye.

The Union of Chambers and Commodity Exchanges of Türkiye has launched an emergency recovery fund to further contribute to recovery efforts and continue helping those in need. The campaign was announced in a letter to chambers and commodity exchanges in 81 provinces from Rifat Hisarcıklıoğlu, TOBB President and Chair of ICC Türkiye.

In addition, we remain in close touch with our national committee in Syria who will provide their recommended channel of support for those affected in the country.

How to help

The fund established by TOBB is our key channel today for ICC and WCF to help support recovery efforts in Türkiye. Amplifying this call to action internationally, I urge you to support this campaign, demonstrating the generosity and caring values you have demonstrated in recent years.

By way of your donations, large or small, we hope to help and demonstrate solidarity with the communities and colleagues affected by this tragedy.

Please give generously today!


John W.H. Denton AO
ICC Secretary General
+33 (0)1 49 53 28 18

33-43 avenue du Président Wilson, 75116 Paris, France
T +33 (0)1 49 53 28 28 | F +33 (0)1 49 53 28 59 | @iccwbo

Good Business: New Zealand’s Skills Shortage and Employment of Skilled Migrants

New Zealand’s Skills Shortage and Employment of Skilled Migrants


“Skilled Migrant”

 Someone who is skilled, has the knowledge and ability to do something well. If people migrate, they move from one place to another. – Collins Dictionary.

 People who have skills that will contribute to New Zealand’s economic growth. – Immigration New Zealand.

This article is not taking a political stance. It is highlighting the complexities in the current Immigration space and how to critically evaluate and navigate your way as employer or Skilled Migrant worker.


Immigration Reset confusion

New Zealand businesses are suffering a shortage in both skills and labour post Covid, a perfect storm created by factors such as the decrease in population growth, New Zealanders heading overseas again, excess retirement aka the “Great Retirement” and the not so new Immigration Reset.

In August 2022 Economist Brad Olsen stated that the population growth is at a 36-year low, his finding supported by Stats NZ data.  Net migration has fallen to its lowest levels since the 1990’s and the current labour market shortage is likely to continue.

The Immigration Reset was designed to rebalance the immigration system and make it easier for the Skilled Migrants we need to get a fast track to residency. Unfortunately, rather than make it easier for Skilled Migrants to be eligible for residence, it appears to be achieving the exact opposite.  Special Green Lists with high thresholds on qualifications, above median wage requirements, and a very limited range of required skillsets is causing headaches for all operating in the immigration sphere.


Chef vs Cook

The different requirements for Chefs and Cooks is an example that left everyone astonished, causing restaurants to close their doors because of the shortage of Chefs.

A “Chef”, who might have trained under world class Dabiz Muñoz in Spain, but without a Level 4 NZQA Professional Cookery qualification (ie. New Zealand cooking school qualification), could not get a work visa but “Cooks” (ie. Cooks not Chefs) could get a work visa based on their experience only (ie. no NZQA requirement needed if they have experience instead).  This anomaly was overturned on 18 October 2022; however, we will need to pay our Chefs and Cooks $29.66 per hour from 27 February 2023 as the Median Wage for immigration purposes will go up.

Skilled Migrants want certainty, whether they are in the hospitality industry or any other industry.  A Chef migrant uprooting their family to New Zealand to fill a much-needed Chef position, wants to know that they can get residence, unless it is their choice to live a nomadic lifestyle.  Without certainty that they can get residence in New Zealand the lush borders of Australia might attract them.


The confusion continues

Under the Immigration Reset, sectors which rely on migrant labour, like tourism and the primary industries, are intended to look different in future and to replace unskilled migrant labour with higher-valued jobs and the expectation is that industries will invest in automation and new delivery models.

The reset resulted in our tourism industry struggling the most. It is our largest export industry delivering pre-Covid $40.9 billion to the country. Our hospitality, horticulture and agriculture industries are also struggling because the Reset settings.  Under the settings, supposedly gone are the days of employing cheap “woofer” and “travelling student” migrants.

But a recent Beehive article has stated:

“Our government recognises the crucial part working holiday visa holders’ play in the New Zealand economy. We need their skills here to meet demand in industries like tourism, hospitality, agriculture, horticulture.  Since the beginning of November, we have seen weekly arrivals of over 1,200 visa holders.  Monthly arrivals have built, from 1000 in July to over 4000 in October. “

 This is 2022 data.  A Working Holiday visa is a visa issued to a typical student (low skilled, low value) travelling and working, for a year. Issuing easily obtainable, low value, low skilled visas to smooth over the long-term shortage of skilled labour is raising some eyebrows.

Further confirmation of numbers of low skilled short-term visas issued:

“Over 17,000 working holiday visitors have now arrived in the country, out of the 36,000 approved since March, providing much need labour during a time of global shortage.” 

Employing a Scandinavian student worker for a year might sound like a good solution to the current labour shortage, but is it feasible and efficient to retrain a new student every year as you hand over the position from working holiday student to working holiday student?  Should a newly employed student be the face of our $40.9 billion tourism industry?


Employing Migrants as an Option

Employment of Skilled Migrants is an integral part in any economy whether you are for or against the concept.  An OECD Migration report found that: migrants positively contribute by filling important niche sector jobs; contribute more in taxes and social contributions than they receive in benefits; have the most positive impact on the public purse; boost the working-age population; arrive with skills and contribute to human capital development and contribute to technological progress.

There are a number of pathways to get your Skilled Migrant employee into the country.  To employ them, your business will have to be Accredited with Immigration New Zealand.  The most prudent option would be to ensure that your Skilled Migrant employee can also qualify for residence so that you are sure you are able to keep the employee for a period longer than a year and knowing that if they don’t get residence they will have to leave the country after three years.

A holistic approach is needed, looking at the employee’s situation from entering New Zealand on the Accredited Employer Work visa to the point of obtaining residence and without residence we are back looking for new migrants to fill our job shortages.


If you have any questions, please contact us for an appointment T: 06 3490090 or email  You can also visit our website at


Joamari Van der Walt │ LLB │ BComm(Econ)-Law (Stellenbosch) │



Disclaimer: This publication should not be construed or acted on as legal advice. It is brief and general in nature. Specific advice should be sought.


[1] Hon Michael Wood 15 November 2022

Good Business: Fair Trading Act 1986 – is a Director’s liability limited?

Fair Trading Act 1986 – is a director’s liability limited?

 The Fair Trading Act 1986 (“the Act”) was enacted to protect consumers from misleading and deceptive trader behaviour and unfair trading practices.

As there are many small businesses in New Zealand, it is common practice for a director of the company to be dealing directly with a customer during a transaction.

It is important that directors do not breach the Act, as the law allows for a director to be held personally liable for such a breach.


What constitutes a breach under the Act?

The main breaches under the Act are when an individual (or a business) in trade:

  • Engages in conduct that is unconscionable;
  • Engages in conduct that is misleading or deceptive or is likely to mislead or deceive;
  • Makes an unsubstantiated representation; or
  • Makes a false or misleading representation in relation to goods or services.


Is the “corporate veil” applicable?

It is well established that a company is a separate legal entity from its directors, shareholders, employees, and agents (“the corporate veil”).

The corporate veil is a metaphoric veil with the company on one side and the directors/shareholders etc. on the other side. Liability does not pass through the company side to the director/shareholder side.

In theory this means that if a director breached the Act, the corporate veil would protect them from personal liability.


Section 45

However, Parliament was not happy with the prospect of directors being protected by the corporate veil. Which is where section 45 of the Act comes into play.

Section 45 states:

  • Where, in proceedings under this Part in respect of any conduct engaged in by a body corporate, being conduct in relation to which any of the provisions of this Act applies, it is necessary to establish the state of mind of the body corporate, it is sufficient to show that a director, servant or agent of the body corporate, acting within the scope of that person’s actual or apparent authority, had that state of mind.
  • Any conduct engaged in on behalf of a body corporate—
    • by a director, servant, or agent of the body corporate, acting within the scope of that person’s actual or apparent authority; or
    • by any other person at the direction or with the consent or agreement (whether express or implied) of a director, servant, or agent of the body corporate, given within the scope of the actual or apparent authority of the director, servant or agent—

shall be deemed, for the purposes of this Act, to have been engaged in also by the body corporate. In summary, section 45 deals with comparing the state of mind of the director, to the state of mind of the company. If the two states of mind are the same and the director acted within their scope of authority, the Court can hold the director personally liable for breaching the Act.


What have the Courts said?

In Cornfields Ltd v Gourmet Burger Co Ltd (2000) 9 TCLR 698(HC), McGechan J said at paragraph 27:

“It will be a rare case where a director who participates directly in negotiations as to his or her company’s business will be able to avoid s 9 liability simply on the basis that he was acting only on the company’s behalf. The Fair Trading Act is in our view intended to cast its net wider than that.”

 This was upheld by the Court of Appeal in Kinsman v Cornfields Ltd (2001) 10 TCLR 342(CA), where the Court stated further that the word “also” in s 45(2) of the Act suggested that both the director and the company itself could be liable under the Act when a director acted within their actual or apparent authority.

In the 2004 Court of Appeal case of Giltrap City Ltd v Commerce Commission [2004] 1 NZLR 608, the principal and chief executive of Giltrap City entered into a price fixing arrangement which was contrary to the Commerce Act 1986. The Court found that the principal and chief executive had acted in the scope of their actual/apparent authority. Therefore, the Court determined that their conduct was that of the Company and they were both personally liable under the Commerce Act. The Court said further at paragraph 54 that, “there cannot in our view be any material difference … between s 45 of the Fair Trading Act and s 90 of the Commerce Act.



Both the company and the director can be held liable for a breach of the Act due to s 45 of the Act giving the Court the ability to pierce the corporate veil. As such, it is really important that your terms of trade and your general business conduct do not breach the Fair Trading Act.


If you have any questions, please contact us for an appointment T: 06 3490090 or email  You can also visit our website at


Matt Bouzaid LLB Bcom



Disclaimer: This publication should not be construed or acted on as legal advice. It is brief and general in nature. Specific advice should be sought.

Local Government Elections 2022

Nominations are now open for candidates to stand for Whanganui District Council and the Whanganui Rural Community Board.

Now is also the time for everyone to make sure they’re enrolled at the correct address so they can have their say when voting opens in September.

The elections team at Whanganui District Council has put together some handy resources that you can use to help spread the word about standing for council and enrolling to vote on social media and websites. You can download social media tiles, posters, an info sheet and our latest media release here.

Resources will continue to be added to this page, so check back regularly.

Whanganui District Council encourage anyone thinking of standing for Council this year to check out the website for more information.

You can also pop into the elections centre at Community House on Ridgway Street, Whanganui between 10am-2pm on weekdays and have a chat to a member of the team, or find them at the Whanganui River Markets or Trafalgar Square on Saturday mornings.

For more information about enrolling to vote, visit

Fee Free Online Study New Zealand Certificate in Business


UCOL and eCampus NZ have combined to offer businesses the opportunity to upskill for free. They are offering a range of level 3 and 4 online certificates fee-free to help bridge the skills gap and keep business moving, and for enrolments prior to 20 December 2022, there will be no fees.

In addition to offering access to industry leading online courses which will provide the knowledge needed to operate and grow a business, UCOL will work with you and your staff to provide the in-person academic support required to ensure your learning is successful and can be applied.

Ask yourself any of the following questions and if the answer is YES, they have the solution for you.

  • Do you and your team need the skills to improve performance and productivity?
  • Do you have projects that need to be delivered on time and on budget?
  • Would your business benefit from sound knowledge of accounting requirements?

Programme options include:

New Zealand Certificate in Business (Administration and Technology) Level 4

New Zealand Certificate in Business (Administration and Technology) Level 3

New Zealand Certificate in Business (First Line Management) – Level 4

New Zealand Certificate in Business (Small Business) – Level 4

New Zealand Certificate in Project Management – Level 4

New Zealand Certificate in Business (Introduction to Team Leadership) – Level 3

New Zealand Certificate in Business (Accounting Support Services) –Level 4

New Zealand Certificate in Business (Introduction to Small Business) Level 3

Whether you and your team require on campus workshops to embed learning or on the job tutorial sessions to make sure all your learning goals are achieved, the UCOL team will work with you to make sure you have access to the support you need.

It’s time to get down to business with UCOL and eCampus with fee free certificates, get in touch today. UCOL.AC.NZ



NZ Chambers Submission on the Proposed Fair Pay Agreement (FPA) Legislation

18 May 2022

1. The New Zealand Chambers of Commerce appreciates the opportunity to make a submission on the proposed Fair Pay Agreement Bill and confirms it wishes to be heard by the Select Committee in support of this submission.

Address for service:
• To New Zealand Chamber Network Director and Auckland Business Chamber Chief Executive, Michael Barnett; Email:; Phone 0275 631150.

2. The New Zealand Chambers of Commerce bring together 30 regional Chambers across the country, representing over 22,000 small and medium businesses who are active in contributing to the health, wealth and wellbeing of their regions, the national economy and growing GDP through international exports.

3. The Chambers’ members are diverse, ranging from professional service providers, manufacturers, freight companies, family-owned enterprises, retailers, and digital entrepreneurs pushing new levels of high-tech innovation and service offerings.

4. The Chamber is dedicated to supporting the sustainability and growth of private enterprise encouraging upskilling, entrepreneurship, and innovation to contribute to the development of New Zealand’s commercial success, international trade, visitor economy, and investment in infrastructure, technology, education, and cultural hubs.

5. Key to growth will be to reframe New Zealand’s reputation as a desirable place to live, work and play to attract the essential skills, capabilities, and competencies fit for the digital age.

6. Our members expect their views as business owners and employers to be forcefully represented in this Submission.

7. The Chamber approach is to establish constructive partnerships and relationships with policymakers and decision makers in government as well as other business organisations.

8. Our overarching aim is to champion equitable and fair outcomes to promote economic growth and social wellbeing, and a system that recognises and rewards talent addresses skill shortages and training needs and lifts the bar to build sustainable globally competitive excellence.


9. The impact of Covid’s disruptions around the world and in New Zealand has been a circuit breaker, forcing a rapid shift to agile, technology-enabled operational, manufacturing, construction, finance, supply chain and service delivery models.

10. We live in a connected, digitally-enabled world where survival, competitive advantage and sustainable success for employers and employees is predicated on adaptability and adoption of the technology solutions, skills, aptitudes, behaviours and commitment to continual learning and improvement to enable peak performance in the new workplace wherever it is – in a factory, an office, a home or remotely with the world a borderless marketplace.

11. This Bill belongs in another era, one that has long been buried by private enterprise who seeks to recruit, reward and grow employee careers. It does, however, fit with the rigid hierarchies and pay scales that are so well defined in the public sector and contributes funds to unions to negotiate for members.

12. It’s hard to criticise good intentions to continue to raise the pay and conditions of the 5 per cent or so of our lowest wage earners and have mechanisms in place for all employees to be fairly rewarded. It is the way of the world and of this Government which is committed to securing economic recovery and investing in the wellbeing of New Zealanders with a balanced approach – as well as seeing through its election promises.

13. But there are costs for doing the right thing if the approach is wrong. Levelling the playing field and “stopping the race to the bottom” through fair pay agreements and compulsory negotiations that can be initiated by the minority to get sector wide agreements is not future thinking. That is days of futures past.

14. New Zealand already has comprehensive employment laws and can target interventions for sectors with bad employment outcomes.

15. A fair pay regime by compulsion will achieve nothing. Bad employers will still be bad.

16. Instead, government and business together, should strengthen existing standards.

17. Rather than imposing collective pay and conditions across whole sectors whether they are fit for purpose or not, the focus should be changed up to achieve a continually improving and progressive workplace culture that rewards lifelong learning and increased productivity.

18. It’s time to create a new model that captures today’s values and aspirations, builds on the best of now but looks out to the future rather than inwards back in time, a model that sets the bar high and recognises the new normal is values driven and people led.


19. New Zealand needs a national transformation plan to attract, reward and retain the skills and capabilities to support an innovative, diversified, high tech and highly productive 21st century economy where we grow world class expertise and investment in priority niches be it agritech, food production, service and supply chain solutions or manufacturing computer chips.

20. Covid has exposed skills shortages and atrophied mindsets. Retaining and fostering talent is critical. We must change the narrative to create hunger and aspiration for excellence and sow the seeds for a revolution to take place across our education system. We need to grow curiosity, core numerical, language, comprehension, digital and analytical skills and keener social intelligence, to have a future proof workforce.

21. That revolution is already happening here, not just offshore, but across the private sector as employers realise winning customer preference means proving that who you are and what you stand for must be demonstrated across the value chain.

22. Increasingly, contemporary enterprises are realigning their vision, values, cultures, and behaviours to meet customer demands to demonstrate integrity, ethics, authenticity, accountability, and transparency to do right by the environment, the community, and their people – and publish independently audited reports on their impact, progress and challenges.

23. Businesses, including the 80 per cent of small and medium enterprises in New Zealand who employ 20 people or less, know success depends on being part of this movement and ensuring that their people, their employees, have the dignity, equity, and opportunity to have financial security, their health, safety, and wellness cared for, career development plans, timely communications and engagement and their performance reviewed so their contribution is recognised and fairly rewarded.


24. Wellbeing, equal opportunities for a step up and fairness is part of the Kiwi ethos. It is not enough of a foundation to create a prosperous future when workers are valued only by their hourly rate of pay not for the individual relevance of their skills, adaptability, mobility, and ability to learn.

25. The system being proposed will mean everyone’s pay being set across a whole industry for that role or class of employee. All assistant salespeople at the same pay, all hospital cooks paid the same. All managers paid the same. All IT programmers paid the same. All retail assistants with that title paid the same. How will the system cope with someone who is both a salesperson and a data analyst and won’t fit the box for that job class?

26. The differentiations in the Bill may permit differences based on district, class of employee or occupation but it still amounts to the same out of step thinking and refusal to recognise the need, particularly for private sector businesses, to compete to attract talent for hard to fill roles or plug skills shortages.

27. Business owners, the people who take the risks, put up their homes as the collateral to stay in business, generate employment and around 30 per cent GDP to the national economy, will lose their right to tailor a competitive package to attract and continually develop the right mix of skills and aptitudes to grow their enterprise and workforce.

28. In a free market, employers and employees must retain the right to negotiate an individual package that aligns compensation and reward with contribution and supports career advancement and ambitions with training and development.

29. If this Bill is shunted through in this form, New Zealand will perpetuate its default position of celebrating mediocrity and never motivating a tall poppy to bloom to realise their full potential.



30. Government’s own advisors have counselled against the reforms, citing possible infringements of international labour and human rights obligations with workers having little choice but to join a union as the designated negotiator, the iniquitous no opt in or opt out provisions for employers, and the damage foreshadowed on targets to improve productivity, innovation, investment and competition for the good of the nation.

31. The proposal does not support voluntary bargaining but rather enforces it. That is an infringement of workers’ and employers’ right to freedom of association. It is out of step with best practice.

32. Other countries have moved to enterprise-level bargaining, after finding that sector-level bargaining was not conducive to good-quality economic outcomes or superior quality labour market outcomes.

33. This model for FPAs is not and will not achieve the worthy objectives cited in the Bill.

34. Being treated the same is not the same as being treated fairly.

35. Business cannot support this agenda and will not shut up or put up with compulsory collective bargaining rules.


36. The Chambers recognise that the FPA model is embedded in Labour’s union roots and doctrine, and pledge to electors and the Labour Party faithful.

37. We believe there is another way to ensure that employers behave ethically to achieve the desired outcomes.

38. As stated above the Chambers seek a new model that is fit for purpose and incentivises individual employee learning and development to compete in a digital age.

39. The private sector is resistant to reverting to a throwback, combative, unwieldy, and expensive labour relations regime that under any guise looks like compulsory unionism to match compulsory collective bargaining.

40. The Chambers propose that consideration be given to a new, independently audited and published rating or certification standard for firms that pay at least the minimum wage and put their reputations on the line to show the ethical values, behaviours, practices, and compensation, reward and skills development systems that make them a good – and appealing – employer.

41. The transparent and verified standard would be a guarantee to employees that their pay, leave entitlements, conditions of work, health, safety, wellbeing, and opportunity for career progression, skills development and continuous learning are fair and equitable.


42. As the system evolves the annual impact reports on social, financial, environmental, and ethical sourcing now used as part of authentic and transparent enterprises’ toolkits, could extend to measuring labour relations and employee care. This in turn would form part of the Company’s overall market compliance, performance measures and brand story to build integrity and preference via verified proof points.

43. The standards could have a star rating with different levels, audited each year by a peak business organisation like a chamber of commerce, or an audit could be initiated by an employee or group of employees who believe they are not being paid fairly for their contri bution.

44. Many private sector employers already publish a code of ethics and practice as part of how they attract good candidates for roles. The certification model would not be unwelcomed, but a key performance indicator, embraced in the same way as the B Corporation certification is taking off or the quality and ethical sourcing certifications that are now keenly sought as essential to winning customers.

45. The certification panel could have three members, including a representative from or selected by the Employment Relations Authority.

46. The checklist to determine a star rating would examine the provisions specified in the Bill including defining pay and penalty rates, normal hours, flexibility on work locations, sick, bereavement and holiday leave provisions, training and development arrangements and redundancy provisions.

47. The number of stars awarded would be progressive based on pay and conditions with one star for paying at least the minimum rate for a role and five star recognising a firm that offered a premium remuneration, reward and upskilling package.

48. The model would enable progressive employers to continue to lift the bar to nurture lifetime on the job learning and reward performance and productivity contributions instead of ringfencing a person and their prospects by their hourly rate which is what the Bill perpetuates.

49. The certification model would strongly motivate an employer who needs to lift their pay rates and provisions to do so or risk public exposure that would damage their reputation – their social licence to do business and most valuable asset.

50. That loss of reputation, embodied in a star rating, would be a powerful catalyst to identify failures and motivate behaviour change – and that will achieve, without the sledgehammer, the remit of the Bill.

51. The certification model could be voluntary as should any FPAs.

52. If there are disputes, either the certifier or as a next step, the ERA, can be brought in to arbitrate, mediate and make a final determination.

53. The Chambers would welcome any opportunity to progress a productive and constructive conversation to develop this certification framework for the private sector and the tens of thousands of enterprises and hundreds of thousands of employees who would benefit from a fair and streamlined pay and conditions system.


54. While the Chambers want to progress an alternative model that will meet the private sector needs for flexibility, competitive appeal and differentiation, we recognise that the Government is moving down the path like a steamroller in a straight line, with heavy expectations to please the unions, as the employees’ negotiator.

55. We can expect the FPA in its current form, to be resisted and challenged by the private sector.

56. While the latest iteration of the Bill recognises the capacity and capability of respected organisations like the business chambers to be approved employer negotiators, we simply do not believe that compulsion is acceptable in 2022 or that all enterprises, public and private, good and bad, should be swept up in its grip.

57. Pursue the bad with targeted interventions, but one size does not fit all.

58. The promotion of FPA law should not serve as a membership and revenue drive for any group.

59. It is archaic to believe that workers should belong to a union. Just a trickle over 16 per cent of the workforce currently belong to one and there is no guarantee that the FPA will bolster union membership.

60. Under the FPA regardless of what employees might want, a union can trigger a fair pay agreement negotiation even if 90 per cent of the workers in an industry do not want one nor want to be represented or belong to a union, but minority rules. In fact, the union rules.

61. Many employers who currently have no involvement at all with unions will be forced to participate in this new bargaining framework and engage with unions for fair pay agreements.

62. Not all employers in an industry group will have a seat at the bargaining table, but all employers will be covered by the resulting agreement, even if they disagree with the outcome.

63. The agreements will be for individual organisational or job categories, which means a single business could be covered by multiple agreements, requiring different compliance standards for different workers in their business. In many businesses, especially in the SME sector, an employee may be required to carry out several tasks during the day, and each task could easily be covered by a separate FPA. For example, in many small businesses an employee could make the sale (a salesperson), pick pack and dispatch the goods (a store person), make the delivery (a driver), write up the invoice and input it into Xero (office person/accountant) then collect and bank the revenue (accountant). Who is going to arbitrate on which FPA applies? Lawyers will have a field day.

64. Current New Zealand employment law establishes a single set of minimum standards for all industries, with a small number of exceptions, such as the starting out wage versus the minimum wage.

65. For the most part, every employee, regardless of industry, must have a minimum rate of pay, leave entitlements and employment protections.

66. This means employers understand what to do when they offer someone a job and the penalties for failing in those clear obligations.

67. The Chambers’ suggestion of a rating system makes many of these issues redundant and eliminates complexity and costs.


68. Government must recognise the damage Covid wreaked on the private and productive sector and the enormous challenge of rebuilding and staying solvent to employ workers and live up to their ambitions as responsible and accountable enterprises to feed families and the community.

69. For many employers, the main problem will be having to pay imposed salary and wage rates that they cannot afford given the introduction of minimum wages, additional sick leave, and rising operating costs from rents to interest rates, as well as restructuring and refining their offers.

70. The result will be increased risk of job losses, redundancies for out-moded skills, disincentivising training and apprenticeships and accelerating further automation and disintermediation of once manual and labour-intensive procedures and processes.

71. Business will be stung by compliance and administration costs as well as having to engage experts from lawyers to HR consultants to guide them through the new regime. Government will also have a heyday recruiting an army of bureaucrats to implement FPAs.


72. Fair Pay Agreements are going to be long and complex and are an open invitation to inevitable stalemates and mediation. They aim to establish rules for base rates of pay, pay scales, allowances, and overtime, which will all be different depending on the agreement itself.

73. Under the current proposal the Employment Relations Authority is the exclusive default mediator, using precedence to inform ruling, but they are also the final adjudicator.

74. Private enterprise cannot accept that position of a government sponsored body in this critical role. They are not state owned or run trading enterprises as found in other countries which apply this type of arbitration.

75. There are thousands of skilled, independent, and experienced mediators to use and ensure transparency and determination of issues.


76. The proposed law, having already given unions and now approved representative business organisation high office, also elevates the ERA as the body with the obligation to vet and approve each FPA if it ticks all the boxes.

77. Employees and employers covered by an FPA will be able to vote to ratify the binding agreement with a simple majority, overseen by the union and approved negotiators.

78. Once again, the ERA is the bulwark if the vote fails to support the FPA with power to fix the terms. Provisions also promulgated for MBIE oversight as well as supporting secondary legislation to nail down loose process in getting an FPA implemented.

79. No enterprise should be subjected to government dictating representation and ratification agencies.

80. Private sector business owners and employers cannot be disenfranchised to this degree. They must have the right to appoint their own experts.


81. The Chambers supports ethical, fair pay and opportunities.

82. This Bill will not achieve its purpose.

83. It will be costly, hard to action let alone implement and erodes the basic rights of employees and employers.

84. Defining which FPA applies to an individual employee, given the need for multi-disciplinary skills in SMEs, will be confusing and complex.

85. This Bill, couched in the language, job definitions and relationships of the past will not create the transformation New Zealand needs so urgently to compete globally and diversify its economy, lift productivity, and motivate, recruit, develop and retain skills that are relevant in the digital era to build prosperity.

86. The New Zealand Chambers of Commerce cannot support the Bill and its compulsory bargaining provisions and decisions.

87. The Chambers seek a new voluntary certification model that motivates and incentivises change for the better to lift the bar on pay rates and conditions to create a skilled, progressive, and productive workforce, rewarded for contribution and lifelong learning as part of an enterprise and its brand appeal.

88. We welcome the opportunity to participate constructively in finding a fair way forward with government and other organisations that can be implemented, gives workers – and employers – dignity, fairness and protects their right to choose and enables adaptation, flexibility and learning to meet our changing world.