The Employment Relations Act 2000 defines bargaining broadly. It includes all the interactions between the parties that relate to the bargaining, including negotiations and all related communications and correspondence before, during and after negotiations.
Collective coverage in New Zealand is around 15 percent of the total employed labour force with the greater proportion of collective bargaining coverage being in the public sector and in large workplaces. There are over 2600 collective agreements in existence of which 70% provided for coverage of less than 50 workers.
Collective agreements are agreements that are binding on one or more unions and one or more employers. There must be two or more employees in a union party to a collective. Only employers and registered unions can bargain for collective agreements.
Bargaining can take place in relation to employees who are not covered by a collective agreement or by employees who are covered by one that is about to expire. For an existing collective agreement bargaining can be started by a union at any time within the last 60 days of the agreement, or by the employer in the last 40 days of the agreement.
There are usually many stages in collective bargaining. In each of these stages the duty of good faith must be met whenever the follow stages occur:
Collective bargaining is the process of bargaining between representatives of workers and employers to determine working conditions and terms of employment and regulate relations between employers, workers, and their representatives.
Collective agreements and an organisation’s approach to employment relations need to support an organisation’s plans and strategies. This means that preparation should begin well in advance of bargaining to ensure the best results. For instance, bargaining should be factored into business planning and budgeting cycles.
For more information and downloads on collective bargaining follow these url links:
 The effect of the Employment Relations Act 2000 on collective bargaining, July 2009, Department of Labour
 Definitions drawn from ILO Convention 154 (1981)