New Zealand Law Society - Employment Mediation Services changes announced

Employment Mediation Services changes announced

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The Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment says it has made its final decisions on changes to the Employment Mediation Services, which include a drop in the number of MBIE-employed Employment Mediators.

This means the resourcing model for employment mediations will shift to a mix of:

  • Permanent MBIE employees providing mediations in Auckland, Manukau, Hamilton, Napier, Palmerston North, Wellington, Christchurch and Dunedin.
  • Panels of contract mediators that will be established in the main centres (Auckland, Manukau, Hamilton, Wellington and Christchurch) to provide additional capacity during peak times. The Dunedin Contract Panel will be extended up to one year.
  • Panels of contract mediators that will be established in other locations across New Zealand, "both where and (potentially) beyond mediation services are currently provided or may be required in the future".

The number of MBIE-employed Employment Mediators will fall from 27.5 to 22 positions.

The Tauranga office will not retain an employed mediator, and will instead be serviced by both employed and contracted mediators in surrounding areas (at present one FTE is employed in Tauranga).

The number of case co-ordinators in Hamilton will increase in order to drive a national approach to case management. MBIE says further resources will be added to Hamilton as fixed term contracts end and through attrition in other centres.

The number of Manager positions will be reduced to seven.

MBIE's decision follows a two-month consultation process on a change proposal which was released on 1 December 2015. MBIE says the changes will be made over "the next 12 months or so", with the new structure and national change management approach being in place by July 2017.

"We expect to take a partnering approach to delivering the nationalisation of case management for the employment mediation service," MBIE says.