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Pike legislation welcome, but no-one to enforce it

Darien

FENTON

Labour Spokesperson

Health and Safety Spokesperson

27June 2013 MEDIA STATEMENT

Pike legislation welcome, but no-one to enforce it

While today’s first reading of the Pike River Mine implementation bill today is welcome, the Government has seriously weakened the capacity of the health and safety inspectorate to actually enforce new laws, Labour’s Health and Safety spokesperson Darien Fenton says.

“The Health and Safety (Pike River Implementation) Bill sets up a new agency called WorkSafe and changes mining regulations.

“Despite some concerns around the strengths of the agency and representation on the Board, Labour will support it to select committee.

“However the capacity to deliver stronger enforcement of new health and safety laws under the new Crown Agency has been seriously compromised by a botched change process at MoBIE.

“The health and safety change programme is due to be completed by Monday, July 1, yet just 74 inspectors have been appointed to new roles. That’s 84 less than the 158 that were supposed to be employed as part of a ‘beefed up’ service.

“Redundancy notices have been issued to some, others are in transitional jobs until the end of the year and the ministry is planning to recruit unwarranted trainees to fill the gaps.

“This leaves the country with the lowest number of health and safety inspectors since the late 1940’s and makes a mockery of the government’s platitudes about improving health and safety for Kiwi workers.

“Simon Bridges, as Minister of Labour, needs to take responsibility for this. It is his mess and he needs to fix it urgently.

“Legislation is fine, but if there is no-one there to enforce it then our shameful accident toll will continue.”

ENDS


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