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Simon Bridges must stop playing blame game


Associate Labour Issues Spokesperson

27 November 2013 MEDIA STATEMENT
Simon Bridges must stop playing blame game

The tragic death of another forestry worker – the eighth this year - has the Minister of Labour pinning responsibility on everyone but himself, Labour’s Associate Labour Issues spokesperson Darien Fenton says.

"All year Simon Bridges has insisted that his revised Forestry Approved Code of Practice, a book of revised rules developed by the Government and forestry employers without input from those who actually work on the ground, was the answer to systemic issues within the industry.

"He has steadfastly refused to heed the numerous calls for an independent inquiry and turned his back on the grieving families who have come forward to tell the truth about what is going on in this highly dangerous industry.

"After the sixth death, Mr Bridges belatedly sent in health and safety inspectors, who unsurprisingly have found multiple breaches and shut down 14 operations.

"While all players in the industry need to take a role in improving safety, the Minister is responsible for leadership and he's showed little of that.

“On the one hand he preaches safety, on the other he refuses to consider regulation - such as limits on working hours - that could make this industry safer.

"At the same time, he is in the process of weakening labour laws that could deny forestry workers the right to a voice at work and the basic health and safety right of rest breaks.

"Enough is enough. Eight deaths is eight too many. It is past time Mr Bridges did something.”


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