The major parties: National’s and Labour’s employment relations policies

  • Bernard Walker
  • Danaë Anderson
  • Erling Rasmussen
Keywords: New Zealand General Election, public policy changes 2020-2023, major parties’ election promises, employment relations themes, New Zealand Labour Party, New Zealand National Party


The past two decades have seen new directions in New Zealand employment relations (ER) with ongoing shifts away from previous neo-liberal models. Most recently, two Labour-led governments have introduced a number of significant moves, ranging from changes to improved statutory minima and conditions, through to gender pay equity provisions and new protections for workers with labour-hire agencies. Another set of longer-term programmes were initiated but not completed, including holidays, protections for contractors and income insurance. Legislation providing for sector-wide Fair Pay Agreements was passed but no agreements have been concluded yet.

The future directions of ER will largely be determined by the outcome of the 2023 General Election. The policies of the two main political parties, Labour and National, will be influential, although one week out from the election close, some policy areas have not yet been made available to the public. The situation will be further complicated by the MMP (mixed-member proportional) system which may see coalition or support arrangements negotiated with minor parties who have their own, separate ER policies.

How to Cite
Walker, B., Anderson, D., & Rasmussen, E. (2023). The major parties: National’s and Labour’s employment relations policies. New Zealand Journal of Employment Relations, 47(1), 162-178.