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Volunteer firefighters beaten back by OSH laws

Volunteer firefighters beaten back by OSH laws

Volunteer Firefighters are threatening to turn their backs on brigades if new OSH laws become a reality this week, according to the National Party Industrial Relations spokesman Roger Sowry.

“Here’s a group of caring Kiwis who aren’t afraid to put their lives on the line for others, but this Government’s making Volunteer Brigade chiefs liable for fines of up to $250,000,” Mr Sowry says.

“In its submission on the Health and Safety in Employment Amendment Bill, the United Fire Brigades Association warns ‘ this legislation will deter potential recruits.’

“It continues, ‘ there is the potential for existing volunteer firefighters to withdraw their services to the community due to concern of possible legal consequences.’

“It’s simply wrong to make these community focused people liable for ‘any harm or injury to their crews or the public.’

“There are more than 10 thousand volunteer fire personnel in this country, each and every one of them deserves a medal not a slap in the face,” Mr Sowry says.

“Because that’s what the Health and Safety in Employment Amendment Bill does, it has the potential to erode a valuable community asset.

“The National Party’s launching a last ditch bid to get all volunteers excluded from this legislation when it comes before the House this week.

“If that fails, we at least want to offer volunteer firefighters the protection they deserve,” Mr Sowry says.

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