Sector and trade organisations represent the interests of whole industries, such as fishing; whole sectors, like retailing; and trades, such as plumbers or builders. Sector and trade groups are usually made up of a number of regionally-based associations.
Like other employer and business groups, sector and trade organisations provide services for members. These often include:
- codes of practice
- assistance with disputes
- advice on employment issues, government legislation and regulations
- lobbying government on legislation and regulations
- technical information and training.
Some organisations also provide awards to businesses in their sector.
Road Transport Forum
The Road Transport Forum was formed in the late 1990s to provide the road freight industry with a single national voice. It deals with a range of issues related to government, including road user charges, road construction and vehicle regulation.
The forum’s predecessors formed in the 1920s and 1930s. They were regional owner-driver groups (generally known as owner-carrier or owner-driver associations) and a fleet operator group (the New Zealand Road Transport Association).
Over the years, these organisations joined and came apart, changed names and reformed.
Drinking on the job
Early meetings of the Licensed Victuallers’ Association, if held in the morning, had the minutes recorded in beautiful copperplate handwriting. If held in the evening, the handwriting deteriorated alarmingly, becoming ‘very difficult to decipher … for reasons that are probably obvious’.1
The prohibition movement’s vehement opposition to the sale of liquor drew hoteliers together. When the Clutha electorate voted to go dry in 1895, ending the sale of liquor anywhere within its boundaries, local groups began to organise. Wellington, Auckland, Christchurch, Hawke’s Bay and Greymouth were among the first branches of the Licensed Victuallers’ Association.
A sector will usually have more than one organisation. Groups in the electricity industry in 2009 included:
- the Electricity Networks Association, representing line businesses
- the Electrical Engineers Association, which was concerned with technical issues
- the Energy Management Association, part of the Institute of Professional Engineers, which was open to all people and organisations within the energy management industry
- the New Zealand Wind Energy Association
- the Major Electricity Users’ Group.
Building trade associations
The first building trade associations were set up in the 1800s. They were business and employer organisations rolled into one, providing a network, lobbying government and helping members resolve employment issues. Once the Employers’ Federation was set up, many trade associations became affiliated.
In some trades there are more than one business group. The Registered Master Builders’ Federation was set up in 1892, and the Certified Builders Association more than a century later, in 1998. Through its 22 regional associations, the federation represented more than 1,800 member companies in 2009. The association represented 1,700 builders, all with trade qualifications.
The New Zealand Forest Owners’ Association (FOA) was set up in 1926, and the smaller New Zealand Farm Forestry Association in 1957. Both organisations were concerned with resource management, research and government handling of forestry issues.
They had been preceded in 1917 by the Dominion Federated Sawmillers’ Association, which represented 75 mills. The association focused on lobbying government, attempting to get export restrictions removed and to limit imports. As millable native forest was reduced, plantation forestry became more important, and the FOA became a more significant body.
In 2009 the FOA represented New Zealand’s large forestry companies. Its members owned or managed more than 80% of the country’s plantation forests. Farm Forestry Association members owned or managed 100,000 of New Zealand’s 1.88 million hectares of forest.