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Amanda Reilly and Jonathan Barrett

New Zealand, as a nation, has been slow to embrace the United Nations ‘Business and Human Rights’ agenda. This chapter contextualises this inaction within a wider discussion of the status of labour and human rights. It also uses the guidelines on government duty to protect human rights set out in Part One of the United Nations Guiding Principles as a framework for examining the government’s efforts. It is argues that New Zealand’s implementation of the fundamental ILO standards is unsatisfactory as is its constitutional recognition of human and labour rights. Human rights law is under-enforced and government has shown little interest in using tools such as public-sector procurement policies to encourage business to respect human rights. It is concluded that it would be desirable for government to adopt a more proactive approach to the protection of labour and human rights.