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Minister's '500 White Crosses' Total Beat Up

Friday, March 1st, 2002

Labour Minister Margaret Wilson's 500 white crosses campaign is based on totally false information, says the Employers & Manufacturers Association (Northern).

"The Minister's campaign is bizarre, and completely misleading," said EMA's Manager of Advisory Services, Peter Tritt.

"Ms Wilson says the crosses represent 500 deaths occurring in workplaces every year. The claim is utter nonsense.

"The Minister is attempting to scare the public into supporting her draconian Health and Safety Amendment Bill. Her campaign is totally unprecedented in New Zealand law making history.

"She is making claims for which no evidence exists at all. The total number of workplace deaths in the 12 months to June 2001 according to ACC figures was 75. (21 at industrial sites, 38 on farms and 16 in commercial or service locations).

"The Minister could be muddling up these figures with the number killed last year on our roads which was 514.

"Or else she is claiming that roadways to and from people's workplaces are somehow part of their workplace, which is so misleading as to be a deliberate fabrication of the truth. The Minister ought to be ashamed of her misrepresentation of the truth.

"The sad fact is that her HSE Amendment won't reduce workplace accidents at all, and perhaps she knows this.

"But it will add large and ongoing direct and compliance costs to business, and reduce their ability to employ people. In fact one part of the Bill prohibits enterprises from insuring against the risks that the new law introduces. This too is unique in our legal history."


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