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Hastings BP owner fined $252,000 for keeping two immigrant workers in conditions 'verging on slavery'

A BP service station franchisee has been ordered to pay more than $132,000 in arrears to two former staff members, as well as $120,000 in penalties.

The BP logo. Source: Supplied

The Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment said in a statement that Jag Rewat of Pegasus Energy Ltd, which was operating a BP station in Hastings, did not pay staff minimum wage, and made them work up to 16 hours shifts with lesser hours recorded in the log books.

Staff were also not paid holiday pay and were "subjected to unlawful premiums being deducted from their pay," Labour Inspectorate manager Loua Ward said.

"The pair was made to live in accommodation provided by the employer and pay excessive amounts in rent, despite poor living conditions where they were required to sleep on the floor.

"The employees continuously received threats from Mr Rawat saying that he would cancel their visas and they'd be forced to leave New Zealand if they spoke up about the mistreatment.

"Mr Rawat also threatened trouble in the employees' home countries on return."

The Inspectorate said their working conditions "verged on slavery".

"Migrant workers are vulnerable in New Zealand and may not always be aware of their rights, or may be taken advantage of, which we've seen in this case," Ms Ward said.

"Mr Rawat saw himself in a position of power, and used this to his employees' detriment."

Rawat had previously admitted to eight charges at Napier District Court relating to falsifying immigration documents and misleading Immigration NZ.