The notion is explored that the New Zealand Employment Contracts Act of 1991 was designed to serve the national interest. A hypothesis is proposed that the legislation is perceived in two different ways. It is suggested that some see the act as a method of increasing economic efficiency and furthering the national interest, whereas others interpret the act as a means of supporting sectional interest: that of employers. The hypothesis is tested by several investigations of a data set that consists of a survey of labour market participants in Dunedin on the eve of the passage of the legislation. The findings support the hypothesis and the results are discussed with reference to future implications.