Labour promises Partnership Visas, better protection of migrants

Priyanca Radhakrishnan

Priyanca Radhakrishnan

Auckland, October 14, 2020

“Vote for stability, unity and a plan to keep New Zealand moving” says this MP

Last year, I met an elderly Indian woman who was working for a large, well-known New Zealand company. She had worked with them for 26 years – on minimum wage.

It is for people like her that our Government believes that we need to lift the minimum wage and move towards the living wage, so that everyone can live with dignity.

It is because of people like her that we increased the minimum wage and introduced the Winter Energy Payment. We are progressively moving towards paying public sector worker and contractors the Living Wage. We recently passed the Equal Pay Amendment Bill so that people who perform work of the same value are paid the same.

We have also started rolling out the Families Package that will see 384,000 families with children on average $75 per week better off and 50–74,000 children lifted out of poverty. 

Eliminating migrant worker exploitation

Our Government has also taken practical steps to better understand and eliminate migrant worker exploitation. One of the first things we did was to better resource the Labour Inspectorate.  

We carried out an in-depth policy and operational review to better understand temporary migrant worker exploitation in New Zealand and identify impactful and enduring solutions.

As a result of the review, our Government has announced a $50 million investment and a number of changes to be implemented over the coming years, including higher standards required from franchises, labour hire companies and similar businesses where migrant exploitation often occurs; establishing a dedicated, free-phone line to make it easier to report migrant worker exploitation, support for migrant workers to better understand the laws and a new visa for exploited migrant workers to ensure that they can safely leave exploitative situations without jeopardising their immigration status.

As a direct result of Covid-19, the biggest impact to workers has been in the tourism and hospitality industries, which is the largest sectors for migrant workers.

The changes form an end-to-end package aimed at providing a better overall system for protecting migrant workers. In time, the number of migrants is likely to rebound and these changes will be important to ensure that exploitation does not increase again.

Partnership Visas

Many have asked about our plans with regard to Immigration. Amongst other commitments, Labour will update the settings of Partnership Visas so that these are up-to-date, culturally appropriate, and represent international best practice.

We will also reduce barriers to access the Parent Category Visa, including reconsidering the current provisions once the international flow of people across the border settles, and reducing the income thresholds. We will continue our work to stamp out migrant worker exploitation, including a focus on exploring the implementation of modern slavery legislation in New Zealand to eliminate exploitation in supply chains.

Five-Point Economic Plan

This is all part of making sure that we continue to strengthen the economy and put people first. We are asking for your support to allow us to continue with our Five Point Economic Plan to invest in people, support small businesses to rebuild, create jobs that also perform a double duty of reducing unemployment and protecting the environment or building houses as well as strengthening our global position and backing our exporters.

This is our chance to future proof the economy and ensure that we emerge with a more sustainable economy. Unlike the Opposition’s tax cuts, which are a sugar-hit at best, our stimulus package focuses on creating jobs and investing in critical infrastructure that allows us to also tackle long-term challenges that face New Zealand, like climate change, inequality and the housing crisis.

Make your vote count. A vote for Labour is a vote for unity, stability and plan to keep New Zealand moving. Two ticks Labour and let us keep moving!

Priyanca Radhakrishnan is a Member of Parliament on Labour List and Parliamentary Private Secretary to the Minister of Ethnic Communities. She is contesting from the (same) Maungakiekie Constituency in the general election on October 17, 2020.

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