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Callous Govt penalises firefighters in OSH law

Callous Govt penalises firefighters in OSH law

The Government has rejected an opportunity to exempt firefighters from liability for harm they cause to people while doing their job at a fire scene.

National MP Lindsay Tisch attempted to move an amendment to the Health and Safety in Employment Amendment Bill going through Parliament today, but was voted down by Labour.

“Volunteer firefighters will be liable under the legislation for ‘any harm or injury to their crews or the public’ that occurs while they are on the job.

“Volunteer Firefighters have already threatened to turn their backs on are on brigades if this law goes through without an exemption.

“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”.

“National will continue to work with the United fire Brigades Association and volunteer fire brigades to pressure the Government to change this law before its implementation in mid 2003.

“In its submission on the Bill the United Fire Brigades Association warned that the legislation would deter potential recruits and that volunteers were prepared to withdraw their services in protest at the legislation.

“Labour is being short-sighted in making these community focused people liable, and it will find that it will have to back-track on this legislation as the Fire Service struggles to get recruits and ridiculous prosecutions follow this law,” Mr Tisch said.

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