The New Zealand Productivity Commission is conducting an investigation into the consequences of technological change on the future of human work.

The issues paper, released in April 2019, outlines the three most pressing questions the commission is aiming to answer, the first of which centres around forecasting likely impacts. The investigation then aims to ascertain what this will mean for workers, productivity and wellbeing, and therefore provide recommendations to the Government on how to best position New Zealand to respond.

As part of their issues paper, the commission has identified four future scenarios they intend to assess. These speculations range from a future where more technology translates into more jobs, to a world where labour is potentially replaced, and even considers situations where technology adoption slows.

Public submissions are currently being encouraged to give feedback on the relevance of the future scenarios and policy implications currently being considered by the commission. This phase of the inquiry aims to assist members of society to participate, with submissions due by the 5th June 2019.

Draft reports are expected to be released by the commission between August – November 2019.

The issues paper identifies that “while technological change brings significant overall benefits, it also creates frictions and costs for particular groups in society”.

Managing a period of transition in society, where innovation benefits some but not all, will involve ensuring Government makes informed choices regarding the policy settings they adopt.

Submissions can be made at www.productivity.govt.nz/futureofwork

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