The Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment is considered the central agency in New Zealand’s business and employment fields. It is a government body which works to develop and deliver on policy, services and regulation to promote and support business growth.
While the statement above is helpful in understanding where it fits in the broader New Zealand economy, understanding what the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment (MBIE) actually does is important for employers. The MBIE is the government’s lead agency which directly interacts with employers to help businesses grow to become more competitive, and to ultimately improve job opportunities for New Zealanders.
One of the core functions of the MBIE includes administering Acts and regulations on behalf of the Government across a number of categories such as:
• building and construction
• communications and information technology
• consumer protection
• economic development
• energy and resources
• injury prevention, rehabilitation, and compensation
• science and innovation
• workplace relations and safety
There are direct functions which are taken on by the MBIE covering specific areas of economic activity, as well as more general areas of operation. For example, the MBIE has been partnering with other agencies to support Canterbury’s recovery following the devastating Christchurch earthquakes in 2010 and 2011. In this example, the MBIE is taking the lead in supporting the residential rebuild and monitoring the public sector rebuild, all the while ensuring that employment prospects return to this region.
More broadly, the MBIE plays a key role in supporting business growth through a number of targeted methods directly related to the employment relationship:
• aligning the development of skills to the needs of businesses
• ensuring workplaces remain fair and safe
• providing dispute resolution services for employment
Disputes have the potential to be costly and highly disruptive, and the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment offers a free mediation service to any employer or employee with a problem in their working relationships. Where engaging with the employee has not worked and an issue remains unresolved, employers can arrange for Employment Mediation Services to help finalise the issue. Employment Mediation Services also has offices which can be utilised for the purpose of mediation meetings.
The Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment is a key government agency which directly influences the employment relationship in New Zealand. If you are unsure of whether or not to involve the MBIE in any employment relations issue contact one of our specialists on our advice line day or night on 0800 675 700.