The EMA’s advocacy gives members a voice with key stakeholders to help them address their biggest challenges. The first six months of the past financial year was dominated by proposed changes to employment relations which would add complexity and cost particularly for SMEs.

Over that time the EMA continued to work for members on infrastructure and construction, and issues related to:

  • Fair Pay Agreements
  • Holidays Act
  • Independent Contractors
  • Re-instatement of 90-day trials
  • Minimum Wage

We have kept members up-to-date with what these changes mean for them and offered forums, conferences, learning and policies on how to correctly implement what is necessary within member businesses.

In the past year we were delighted to see our long term advocacy on the Resource Management Act (RMA) come to fruition in the form of the Randerson Report, which recommended replacing the current act with separate environmental and planning acts.

There is still work to do on the shape of the two guiding acts, but replacing the current act was a four-year campaign by the EMA and Resource Reform New Zealand (Infrastructure New Zealand, the Environmental Defence Society, Property Council New Zealand and BusinessNZ).

The RMA was no longer fit for purpose and was failing to protect the environment and also to enable fast enough responses to cope with New Zealand’s rapid growth and infrastructure deficit.

During the second half of the financial year when COVID-19 struck the EMA’s strong relationships with key stakeholders helped us develop deeper relationships with the Government and Ministers to support solutions for businesses.

A group of EMA members also shared feedback with Treasury after the first lock down on what had worked or had failed in the Government’s support for businesses.

The new Government’s strong mandate means we will continue to advocate for member businesses to create the best environment to get through, transform and grow post-COVID-19.

EMA Head of Advocacy and Strategy Alan McDonald and BusinessNZ Chief Executive Kirk Hope.


people attended a briefing (in person or via webinar) on key economic, legislative and employer-related developments over the year


forums were held for members with key industry and local and central Government officials


Over the past financial year the EMA has held 10 policy, manufacturing and employers forums on key topics to share information and facilitate debate and interaction between members.

  • Manufacturing: R&D Tax Credits – Sandyha Ravi, KPMG; Xavier Watts, MBIE; Keith Taylor, IRD.
  • Education with National’s Nikki Kaye
  • Waikato Mayoral Debate
  • Auckland Mayoral Debate (co-hosted with Heart of the City)
  • Reserve Bank update with Geoff Bascand, Deputy Governor, Reserve Bank of New Zealand
  • Manufacturing sector update with Hon Phil Twyford
  • National Party Policy Launch
  • Immigration with Lukas Sousa from Malcolm Pacific
  • 5G with Jason Paris, Vodafone
  • Human Rights Commission on transparency.


As the voice for business with key stakeholders and local and central Government, in conjunction with its other advocacy work the EMA made seven submissions to Government over the past financial year to ensure the views of member businesses were heard, including on:

  • Proposed priority products and priority product stewardship scheme guidelines consultation document (Waste Minimisation Act)
  • Legalisation of cannabis for recreational use
  • Designing a Fair Pay Agreement Discussion Paper
  • Opportunities for Change – Issues and Options Paper on Transforming the Resource Management System
  • New Zealand Productivity Commission Training New Zealand’s Workforce Report 3
  • RMA Review Panel on Indicative Proposals for Reform
  • Oral submission on Emergency Auckland City Council Budget 2020/21
  • Three submissions on the Electricity Pricing Review as part of TPM.


submissions were made to local and central Government to ensure members’ voices were injected into public policy


members joined the EMA Coronavirus Discussion Group on Facebook


items in the media representing member business views


electronic all Member Updates with essential information were provided during COVID-19


members kept up-to-date through our regular communications including BusinessPlus magazine and e-Report, Employer Bulletin and Exporter newsletters


Two-way communication with our members was even more crucial than ever before in the second half of the financial year during COVID-19. Our existing communication channels were augmented by several new channels including the EMA Coronavirus Discussion Group, LinkedIn groups for Manufacturing, Export and Payroll, and the interactive Web Series.

Member Briefings Summer 2020

Industry groups

Over the past financial year the EMA has continued to run a range of trade groups with both a local and international focus. Sector-specific conferences have once again been run for Cosmetics NZ and NZ Metal Roofing, in addition to a range of workshops and briefings for those and other sectors on key aspects relevant for their business.

Through COVID-19 Cosmetics NZ and the EMA provided critical liaison and advocacy for manufacturers through weekly virtual meetings with Government agencies to ensure changes to standards to enable greater quantities of hand sanitiser to be produced.

As alert levels shifted the EMA ran a series of webinars for close to 1,000 hairdressers to get them up to speed on what they needed to do to reopen, and how to deal with staff issues, and helped produce WorkSafe approved plans for them at Level 2, and for manufacturers at Level 3.

No one could have prepared for COVID-19 and the impacts, so it’s fantastic to see how you’ve really gone over and above for nib to utilise the remaining value for what’s left of FY20.

Rebekah Blair
nib NZ Partnerships Manager


Over the past financial year the EMA has re-thought it’s partnerships to focus on communities and membership engagement and aligning our values with partners to ensure a whole-of-business approach.

The new strategic partnerships approach includes an associations, franchises and affiliates model, a review of commercial and procurement partners and also new thinking about our partnership engagement with Government, all in order to drive deeper engagement, richer alignment and long-term loyalty for and with our members.

COVID-19 also forced a re-think of our lead partnership to ensure we delivered on their expectations.

This approach enables us to build connections based on two-way needs, data touch points and experiences to drive loyalty and engagement with the EMA and the wider BusinessNZ network. We will be looking at the way we engage with our partnerships over the coming year through this lens.