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Forestry bosses off the hook after proposal dumped

3 December 2013

Forestry bosses off the hook after corporate manslaughter dumped

The Government's decision to dump a proposal to introduce an offence of corporate manslaughter will let negligent forestry bosses off the hook and do nothing to stop needless tragedies in the sector, Labour Leader David Cunliffe says.

“New legislation was recommended by the Government’s own health and safety taskforce in an attempt to curb our high workplace fatality rate.

"A corporate manslaughter law would enable corporations to be held accountable for their worst failures including deaths of forestry workers because of unsafe practises. It could also be used against those responsible for badly constructed buildings.

"This is another example of the Government looking after the big end of town and ignoring hardworking Kiwis.

“The Government is caving into big business rather than sending a strong message to the boardroom that there will be serious consequences for putting profits over the lives of their workforce.

“The business sector has never been comfortable with the idea of criminalising their worst failures.

“John Key yesterday said no further work would be done on progressing corporate manslaughter because ‘it had not been terribly successful in Britain’.

“However, Britain already had one of the best health and safety records in the world when it was introduced five years ago so it is hardly surprising the law has been little tested there. A law has been in place a lot longer in Canada where there have been a number of successful prosecutions.

“New Zealand performs poorly for workplace health and safety compared to other OECD countries.

“The forestry industry is killing nearly one worker a month and the Government must do everything possible to stop this,” David Cunliffe says.

ends

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