Unionists are concerned that the Government's flagship Fair Pay Agreements to boost conditions for workers will not be passed this Parliamentary term.

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern was questioned about the agreements while speaking at the Council of Trade Unions biennial conference in Wellington today.

A working group on the agreements reported to the Government nine months ago, but Ardern confirmed today that another document was being put together and will be sent out for consultation before further decisions are made.

"We need to do that and go back out and say, 'These are those fleshed-out details - what do you think of those?'"


Delegates in the CTU audience privately expressed concerns to the Herald that they were concerned Fair Pay Agreements would get pushed back to the next parliamentary term.

Earlier today Ardern wouldn't say whether New Zealand First had put the brakes on that work, saying only that consensus between governing parties was required and announcements would be made soon.

FPAs would cover all of the workers in a given sector, setting standards above legal minimums.

Unions claim the agreements will prevent a "race to the bottom" where companies in certain sectors compete on price by cutting the conditions of vulnerable workers.

The working group report recommended that one in 10 workers in a particular sector could trigger the negotiation process as well as there being a public interest test.

If unions and industry representatives could not reach a deal the process would go to arbitration, with the final agreement covering all workers and employers covered.

In response to questions at the CTU event, Ardern said the early childhood education sector would be the next area in education that would see a significant boost in Government resources.

"The next area of focus does need to be ECE."


In her speech, Ardern talked up the contributions of New Zealand First and the Greens, saying consensus led to more enduring change.

"Change that builds and reflects political consensus that brings genuine and long-lasting difference to people's lives ... Both New Zealand First and the Greens have maintained strong voices, and achieved important results in different areas within the Government

"And that is the reality of our Government. Nothing can be done without the full support and votes of each party in it.

Earlier today New Zealand First leader Winston Peters also talked up his party's contribution to the CTU audience.

"We are making sure this is not a right-wing Government, nor a left-wing one," he told those gathered.

"We preside over a solutions-focused, future-orientated Government rooted in tangible facts and not spurious economic theory."