Northland MP Winston Peters is calling on the Government to deport immigrant employers caught ripping off workers by underpaying or forcing them to work long hours.

The New Zealand First leader said recent cases of worker exploitation around the country, including a Whangarei restaurant owner who incorrectly paid his employees and failed to keep accurate employment records, were the tip of the iceberg.

Dayon Trading, which operated as Asahi Japanese Restaurant in central Whangarei, was found with multiple breaches of the Minimum Wages Act and the Holidays Act against 11 employees.

Its owner Sung Chul Shin was ordered to pay $28,000 in penalties but none of that award would benefit the affected employees from Korea and Japan because they had either left the country or were elsewhere in New Zealand. Mr Shin is in Korea and it is not certain if, or when, he will return to New Zealand.


"Immigrant employers caught ripping off workers should face deportation," Mr Peters said.

"No one should adopt another country and abuse its laws. If the employers are citizens, that's doubly concerning and proves we should tighten citizenship laws."

He said the Government must increase the number of labour inspectors from 54 for the entire country and cut down on immigration.

New Zealand, he said, was fast becoming a country with Third World workplaces, where the laws were ignored, and Kiwis had no hope of gaining jobs over cheap labour.

"What's happening is a wholesale breach of human rights, forms of slave labour, and countless attacks on the integrity of New Zealand as a good society, whilst many in the establishment are simply turning a blind eye in condemnation.

"Such people are a disgrace to New Zealand and should be exposed for being so by every right thinking New Zealander."

Commenting on the case of Dayon Trading, Labour Inspectorate's Kevin Finnegan said formal demand notices have been served on Mr Shin for the amount outstanding although he was no longer in the country.

"If the employer returns to the country the Labour Inspectorate would take up civil proceedings to pursue the debt through a formal bankruptcy.

As this was a civil case, he said Mr Shin would not be stopped at the border.

On Mr Peters' call to deport migrant employers who exploit their staff, Mr Finnegan said such employers faced deportation if the offence was committed within 10 years of gaining residency apart from a fine or jail.

Under the Immigration Amendment Act (No 2) that came into effect last year, he said employers who exploit migrants faced a jail sentence of up to seven years, a fine not exceeding $100,000, or both.

He said Immigration New Zealand worked with police and other agencies to ensure the deportation process was as efficient as possible.