A Christchurch restaurant owner fined $70,000 for under-paying 25 workers said he did not agree with New Zealand employment laws and ran his business "how it is in Japan".

Japan Power, which trades as Samurai Bowl was fined $70,000 by the Employment Relations Authority after found to be ignoring employment laws.

It says director Masakazu Takeuchi breached the rights of 25 employees by failing to correctly pay annual leave, holiday pay and paying minimum wage rather than the agreed hourly rate.

Takeuchi told the ERA he did not agree with New Zealand employment laws but cooperated with labour inspectors and fixed the company systems, paying the $23,927 owing to the affected employees.


"We are glad to see these employees receive their arrears, particularly as they were vulnerable migrant workers in a company which made an intentional business decision to not provide holiday pay or keep adequate holiday and leave records for its staff," Labour Inspectorate regional manager Jeanie Borsboom says.

"The significant penalty awarded in this case should send a clear message that you cannot ignore New Zealand employment law."

Japan Power is now on a stand-down list, preventing it from sponsoring visas for migrant workers for 24 months.