Precarious work: the need for a new policy framework

11 Feb 2013

Former NZ Attorney General and Labour Minister Professor Margaret Wilson has written a detailed account of the rise of precarious work arrangements in Australia and New Zealand in her paper Precarious Work: The Need for a New Policy Framework. Professor Wilson says Australia and New Zealand currently rank fifth and fourth on the OECD scale of countries with the least employment protection laws, meaning precarious work – characterised by few benefits, low pay and a lack of access to collective bargaining – is becoming more common. Professor Wilson argues that we must look at how best to structure the policy agenda to protect those who are currently the most vulnerable.

Professor Margaret Wilson completed her LLB (Hons) and MJur at Auckland University. Professor Wilson has worked in private practice and has had an extensive career in public service including roles as founding member and Vice President of Auckland Women Lawyers’ Association and Member of the Advisory Committee to establish a Ministry of Women’s Affairs. From 1985 to 1989 she was Director of the Reserve Bank of New Zealand, from 1988 to 1989 as New Zealand Law Commissioner and in 1988 was Convenor of a Government Working Party on Equal Pay and Equal Opportunities.
Professor Wilson taught at Auckland Law School until 1990 and was the founding Dean of Waikato Law School from 1990 to 1994 and remained on the teaching staff until 1999. Professor Wilson has had a high profile in New Zealand politics; from 1984 to 1987 as President of New Zealand Labour Party, 1989 to 1990 Chief Adviser and Head of Prime Minister’s Office.
From 1999 to 2005 she was Minister of the Crown with positions including Attorney-General, Minister of Labour, Minister Responsible for Treaty of Waitangi Negotiations, Minister of Commerce, Minister for Courts and Associate Minister of Justice. In 1999 she was elected a List Member of Parliament and 2005 to 2008 she was Speaker of Parliament.
Her preferred areas of expertise are constitutional law and employment relations. She returned to Te Piringa - Faculty of Law in 2009 as a Professor of Law and Public Policy.

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