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Registering as a union

Under the Employment Relations Act 2000 (ERA), any group of employees can set up and register as a union. To be a union, a group of employees must first become an incorporated society (under the Incorporated Societies Act 1908 (ISA)) and then register as a union under the ERA.

To achieve both these things, the union:

  • must have at least 15 members (ISA)
  • be independent of employers (ERA)
  • have a set of union rules that comply with both the ISA and the ERA.


Before applying to incorporate as an incorporated society and register as a union, please ensure that you:

  1. Understand the requirements of the ISA and have read the Registrar's information on starting an incorporated society:
  2. Understand the union registration provisions in the ERA:
  3. Inform yourself about how to create a set of union rules.


IMPORTANT | If you are unsure of the requirements for incorporating as a society and registering as a union, we recommend you seek independent legal advice.




Last updated 12 September 2013


Contact the Registrar of Unions

New Zealand Companies Office
Private Bag 92061
Victoria Street West
Auckland 1141

Freephone | 0800 20 90 20



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