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Bill Won't Change Workplace Accident Statistics

31 October 2001

Wilson's New 'Big Stick Bill' Won't Change Workplace Accident Statistics

The Government's Health and Safety in Employment Bill will do little to change New Zealand's appalling workplace accident statistics, National's ACC spokesperson Gerry Brownlee said today.

"The Bill imposes more compliance costs on all workplaces in New Zealand, regardless of accident record, and punishes those employers with bad workplace safety only if caught. If penalties were the answer they would have worked years ago.

"The Minister should concede that allowing private, competitive accident insurance created incentives for employers to keep workplaces safe.

"Under the current regime, two businesses in the same industry class but with opposite accident records pay the same ACC levy.

"Under the private market, the business with a good workplace safety record was rewarded with a lower levy, and the business with a poor record had a financial incentive to make their workplace safe.

"This Bill may see a few businesses at the rough end tidy up their act, but in reality very little will change for New Zealand workers in high risk occupations. Businesses on the other hand will face increased compliance costs and bureaucracy in the workplace. It is evident unions will move to control workplace safety committees using the 'good faith' provisions in this Bill.

"Margaret Wilson has missed an opportunity to be innovative and creative, instead she has been true to form and reverted to what might have been a great idea in the 1970s. New Zealand workers are the losers," Mr Brownlee said.

Ends




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