International Labour Standards. The formation and development of an international regime. New Zealand and the International Labour Organisation 1919-1945
The purpose of this thesis is to examine the development of the international labour standards regime and the role of New Zealand in the development of this regime. To achieve this aim, it first sets out to determine what we mean by a regime, second it examines the development of relations between the International Labour Organisation (ILO) and New Zealand in the context of regime development from 1919 to 1945. The substantive analysis is confined to the period from the end of the First World War to the end of the Second World War. This is done for the following reasons. First, the period saw the introduction of an international labour standards regime and constituted a critical period in regime formation and development. Second, it marks a period when New Zealand developed from a reluctant and passive regime member to a proactive advocate of the principles and norms of regime compliance. Third, the international order that prevailed from 1945 onward is of such significant difference from that which prevailed during the inter-war period that it merits a sustained examination in its own right and as such remains outside the scope of this thesis. This thesis demonstrates that three substantive policies – a policy of autonomy; a policy of presence; and a policy of relevance – cultivated and employed by the ILO made a significant contribution towards the development and consolidation of the international labour standards regime. In the context of these three policies it explores the role of New Zealand’s in the process. In particular, it identifies and examines linkages between domestic and international interests and their influence on regime development. Furthermore it shows how and why the international labour standards regime distanced itself from the League of Nations.
This thesis seeks to achieve these aims for three reasons. First, no previous work has attempted to conduct a detailed examination of relations between the ILO and New Zealand. Second, no previous work has examined the formation and development of the international labour standards regime from the perspective of international organisation/state relations. Third, it seeks to contribute to a research programme that views international co-operation as not only a product of inter-state relations but of the interaction between domestic and international interests. - FROM INTRODUCTION