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Tripartite Future of Work Forum

The Tripartite Future of Work Forum (the Forum) is a partnership between the Government, Business New Zealand and the Council of Trade Unions (CTU).

We live in a period of significant change in which major developments will have impacts on our economy and our jobs, now and for decades to come. These developments include digitalisation, the internet of things, the sharing economy, and the transition to a low-emissions economy.

While it is difficult to know the full extent of change that is coming, there are a number of steps that can be taken now to respond to the change that is already here. The Tripartite Future of Work Forum (the Forum) represents the Government’s coordinated response to these changes.

The Forum is a partnership between the Government, Business New Zealand and the New Zealand Council of Trade Unions – as representatives of union and business groups – that aims to support New Zealand businesses and workers to meet the challenges and take the opportunities presented in a rapidly changing world of work.  The Forum provides a place for these three social partners to discuss issues and work together to identify and implement solutions.

The Forum has a current work programme of 16 initiatives that focus on four themes:

Just Transitions

Understanding how we can embrace opportunities and challenges brought about by rapid changes, including transitioning to a low-emissions economy and responding to new technologies, globalisation and demographic shifts.

Learning for Life

Ensuring New Zealanders continually engage in learning to be able to adapt to, and make the most of, technological and economic change.


Improving technological capability in New Zealand to support people and businesses to adapt to disruption caused by emerging technologies, that are changing the nature of work.

Productivity in the Work Place

Developing initiatives to build inclusive and productive workplaces and skills for the future. 

Who attends the Forum?

The permanent members of the Forum are the Minister of Finance (Chair) and Government Ministers with relevant portfolios, the President of the Council of Trade Unions and the Chief Executive of Business New Zealand.   The Forum is attended by the permanent members and representatives from Government, unions and business as appropriate.

The Forum maintains links with the Prime Minister’s Business Advisory Council as well as the Small Business Council.  

The Forum’s key relationships

Future of Work Tripartite Forum key relationship diagram

How often do the Forums take place?

The Forum meets four times a year, every quarter. The first meeting was held on 8 August 2018.

Review all the Forum agendas and meeting papers linked under related information. 

How will discussions at the Forum become actions?

Implementing the Forum’s work programme requires a deep monitoring and support system. The Future of Work Ministerial Group (the Ministerial Group) and Future of Work Standing Committee (the Standing Committee) provide this.

Future of Work Ministerial Group

The Ministerial Group provides a mechanism for Government Ministers to coordinate the Forum work programme.

Future of Work Standing Committee

The Forum Standing Committee is a sub-committee of the Forum and meets regularly to co-ordinate Government agency input and drive the work programme of the Forum.

The Future of Work Secretariat comprises of the Treasury and the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment (MBIE). The Secretariat supports the Forum, the Ministerial Group and the Standing Committee. Officials from the Ministry of Education, the Tertiary Education Commission, the Ministry of Social Development (MSD) and the Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet aid the Secretariat in this.

Examining the bigger picture

While we are already seeing the impact of some of the changes at present, we know more far-reaching change is still to come. The Future of Work Standing Committee is developing a strategic assessment to influence the Forum’s work programme going forward. The strategic assessment will take a high-level, overarching viewpoint and will:

  • assess evidence on how technological advancement, globalisation, demographic change and climate change mitigation are impacting on the labour market and nature of work in New Zealand;
  • review the policies adopted/considered by other countries to address the Future of Work;
  • define the key challenges and opportunities that need to be addressed in New Zealand and help define policy priorities for a Future of Work Programme.

The Forum partners will be engaging in a series of strategic discussions over 2019 in order to develop the assessment

Want to know more?

For further information about the Forum see the Purpose and Operation document and related press and information release documents below.

Last updated: 
Monday, 28 January 2019