The Shout Magazine (New Zealand)

NZABC and Hospitality NZ support refusal of off-licence over migrant exploitation

Both the New Zealand Alcohol Beverages Council (NZBC) and Hospitality NZ have announced their support of the Alcohol Regulatory & Licensing Authority Te Mana Waiture Take Waipiro (ARLA) to refuse the renewal of an off-licence for Two Brothers Wholesale Limited operating in Tokoroa.

The decision was announced by ARLA following allegations of migrant exploitation by the liquor store owners.

In June 2020, Stuff revealed that three former employees in the liquor empire, owned by brothers Taranjeet and Jaspreet Singh Janda, claimed they were owed more than $400,000 in lost wages after being paid as little as $8 an hour for 90-hour working weeks.

Hospitality NZ Chief Executive Julie White says her organisation has zero tolerance for migrant exploitation in the industry, and encourages and supports strong consequences for rogue operators found to be in breach of employment law. 

Julie White

“Overall business practices should absolutely be considered when reviewing the appropriateness of issuing liquor licenses, and that particularly includes the treatment of employees,” she says.

“Hospitality NZ works hard to encourage best practice within the alcohol sales industry and we have our own internal processes to deal with such operators.”

Bridget MacDonald, NZABC’s Executive Director, says she condemns the behaviour.

“There is certainly no place for these types of operators in our industry, and we agree there should be serious consequences for any rogue operators who exploit workers and are in breach of employment law,” she says.

“New Zealand has some of the most stringent legislation and regulations for the sale and supply of alcohol.

“The majority of the industry is committed to complying with these laws and ensuring good employment practices and obligations are also met.

Bridget MacDonald

“There is no room for people who have total disregard for their responsibilities as liquor licence holders or employers.”

MacDonald says when people play by their own rules, it not only creates an uneven operating environment but more importantly brings into question the fairness towards, and health and safety of employees in that workplace.

“This decision should serve as a stern warning for any business exploiting workers that the authorities will take the necessary steps to ensure this abhorrent behaviour is stamped out.”

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