ILO's Committee of Experts: Comments regarding Chile and the Federal Republic of Germany.
When the Centre first began investigating the question of the New Zealand government
introducing legislation requiring the unemployed to work in order to qualify for an
unemployment benefit, it was because of a sense that the concept of a government in a democracy owning
the labour of individual citizens, was contrary to the development of enlightenment that had
taken place in human affairs since, perhaps, events of the nature of the French and American
As the Centre is not entirely unfamiliar with the psychological makeup of New Zealanders,
it regarded with some caution the claim of the New Zealand government that the Committee of
Experts of the International Labour Organisation had held that working in order to qualify
for an unemployment benefit was not forced labour.
This claim is made in a 1993 publication of the New Zealand Department of Labour
"International Labour Conventions Ratified by New Zealand".
The Centre faxed the Department of Labour on 19 December 1996 requesting the view of the
Department on the rights of the unemployed in New Zealand in regard to forced labour.
An acknowledgment from one Lisa Goodman for the Secretary of Labour was received on
20 December which indicated that a comprehensive response would be made " . . .in the new
The Centre has never received any further information from the New Zealand Department of
On the 18 December 1996 the Centre had faxed the International Labour Organisation seeking
verification of the view of the New Zealand government.
A copy of the seven page facsimile from the International Labour Organisation can be found here