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No Budget commitment to health and safety

Darien Fenton
Health and Safety Spokesperson

17 May 2013

No Budget commitment to health and safety

This year’s Budget has once again confirmed that National’s commitment to improving New Zealand’s awful workplace death and injury toll is hollow, says Darien Fenton, Labour’s Health and Safety spokesperson.

“Budget 2013 contained no extra money to implement the recommendations of the Pike River Mine Commission of Inquiry or the Health and Safety Taskforce.

“The Health and Safety Taskforce that reported back last week said improving New Zealand’s appalling health and safety record would require additional funding of $20 million in the year to June 2014, rising to $32.5 million in the year to June 2017 and thereafter.

“That would allow the establishment of a new agency, which the Government has already agreed to as one of the recommendations of the Pike River Mine Commission of Inquiry. And it would enable more worker participation and enforcement of health and safety.

“But the Budget has no new funding in this area. Instead, spending on Occupational Health and Safety has been held at the existing $50 million a year.

“That isn’t a real commitment to improving health and safety.

“Just when we appear to have reached a consensus in New Zealand about the right of workers to go home safely at the end of their working day, National shows its true colours and tries to do things on the cheap. Workers deserve better than that.

“The Minister of Labour, Simon Bridges has clearly failed in his advocacy in the Cabinet. He should now explain how he will address the 100 lives lost each year, the 900 serious harm incidents and the hundreds of thousands of workplace injuries.

“All this Government has is hollow words. Its actions show it has no real commitment to improving workplace safety,” says Darien Fenton.

ENDS

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