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50% Reduction In Accidents Would Double Growth

Presentation to Select Committee at 10.20am today

13 March 2002

50% Reduction In Accidents Would Double Economic Growth

“Economic growth in New Zealand could double to 5% for the 2003 year if we are able to reduce the current high incidence of occupational accidents and disease by 50%,” Council of Trade Unions president Ross Wilson told Parliament’s Transport and Industrial Relations Select Committee today.

Ross Wilson was presenting the CTU submission on the Health and Safety in Employment Amendment Bill.

Ross Wilson said the BERL forecast for GDP growth released today forecast 2.3% for the 2003 (March) year.

“With the cost of accidents at 4% of GDP, or $4.5 billion per annum, a reduction of just 50% would add more than $2 billion to, and would increase our economic growth to 4.3%,” he said.

“That is equivalent to 28.6% of Vote Health and 31.4% of Vote Education.

“Yet all we hear from business spokespeople are complaints about the ‘compliance costs’ of the modest changes which the new Bill will introduce to address fatality levels which are now reaching crisis levels in New Zealand workplaces.”

Ross Wilson said that New Zealand business can’t afford not to make an increased investment in workplace health and safety.

“The reality is that we have to act with urgency, not only to prevent grief and anguish to the families and friends of the 500 or more workers who die from work-related accidents or disease every year, but also to avoid a mounting cost which has the potential to negate any economic growth which we achieve,” he said.

For further information contact Ross Wilson, Tel: (04) 802-3812
or Lyndy McIntyre, Tel: (04) 802-3817

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