Zero-hours contracts here to stay, thanks to National’s love-affair with business


The government misled New Zealand workers when it promised to outlaw zero-hours contracts – and the Public Service Association’s deeply disappointed.

The Employment Standards Legislation Bill has been returned from Select Committee and National MPs refused to back changes banning availability provisions in contracts.

If the legislation passes, businesses can require staff to be available for work at all times without any guarantee of minimum hours or income.

“Zero-hours contracts are exploitative, and the provisions of the amended bill fails to provide the promised protections to workers,” PSA National Secretary Glenn Barclay says.

“In July last year, Workplace Relations minister Michael Woodhouse said zero-hours contracts were unfair and made it difficult for employees to plan their lives.

“He promised to get rid of them, and Kiwis believed him – so to see his government making them legal is very disappointing”.

Since unions began campaigning on the issue, a number of large employers ditched their zero-hour contracts – including McDonalds, Restaurant Brands and Sky City.

“All around the country, businesses have made it clear they don’t want or need zero-hours contracts,” Glenn Barclay says.

“But National’s choosing to enshrine them in law.

“The PSA calls upon its support parties to vote against this amended bill – and force National to keep its word.”