Queenstown ‘law breach’ firms named

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Queenstown businesses that breached employment laws during a government operation last year can now be named.

The Otago Daily Times obtained a copy of a Business Ministry document that names 18 businesses identified in the ‘proactive audit’.

Those businesses now comply with the rules.

They are: Monty’s Ltd; Caon Investments Ltd (Tin Goose); Dazmark Ltd (Fishbone); Ania-Kanu Ltd (The Spice Room); Ellis Hospitality Group Ltd; Japanese Cuisine Kappa Ltd; Philip and Leesa Ltd trading as Tham Nak Thai; Turkish Kebabs; Green Cabs Ltd (Matthew Scott Baumfield, Michael Duennbier, Pritpalsingh Gill, Eduardo Medeiros, Juhui Lee, Luis Kreische, Sergety Stetsov, Dennis Kosovich, Rone Nascimento and Beryl Macey).

A total of 41 businesses were subject to the “proactive audits” during a joint operation by the ministry and Immigration New Zealand last August.

Problems uncovered in the resort included employees not receiving the minimum wage of $13.25 an hour or not receiving public or annual holiday entitlements; and employers who did not have written employment agreements.

In November, the ministry announced it had taken action against 15 Queenstown businesses – most in the food and beverage sector – found to be in breach of employment and immigration laws.

However, the document obtained by the ODT only mentions employers for which issues arising from the audits were resolved as of last December.

Individuals can face penalties of up to $10,000 and companies up to $20,000 if the issues are not resolved.

Green Cabs Ltd managing director Callum Brown says the 10 people listed as employers in relation to the company were independent cab owners who had not understood a requirement to hold a passenger service licence if they wanted to employ drivers in their own right.

The company worked with the ministry to “make sure we were making the right changes”, and quickly rectified matters, he says.

Tin Goose owner Franco Caon says the ministry contacted him last year about “issues that needed fixing” in relation to an employment agreement.

“All I can say is that the transient nature of Queenstown sometimes makes it difficult to provide new employees right away with employment agreements, but that is normally taken care of as soon as possible.”

He is now fully aware of his obligations and confident the issue will not happen again.

Fishbone co-owner Mark Godden says the company “hadn’t been made aware” of a law change.

Although it paid staff the full entitlement, it recorded the payments under an outdated system.

“It was sorted out very fast.”

Otago Daily Times