No compromises for new health and safety agency
Labour Issues Spokesperson
15 December 2013
for new health and safety agency
Worksafe New Zealand, which comes into operation tomorrow, will have no credibility if it does the sort of dirty deal done last week over Pike River, Labour's spokesperson on Labour Issues Andrew Little says.
"Nothing less than an organisation with dedicated staff and singularly-focused leadership will do to reduce our shameful record on health and safety.
"It was never viable to have a division whose job is to enforce the law against business and regulate their activities inside MBIE, a ministry whose objectives are to promote business; the two are totally contradictory.
"If any evidence were needed on the conflicting roles the ministry has tried to perform then last week's dodgy deal with Peter Whittall and the Christchurch District Court is surely it.
"The idea that after an exhaustive investigation by the police and the old Department of Labour as well as a Royal Commission of Inquiry making unequivocal findings the ministry could then say there was insufficient evidence to prosecute Peter Whittall just doesn't stack up.
"Even worse, to then collude not just to withdraw the charges but to have them dismissed so no prosecution can be mounted is just another egregious failure by a government department which should be doing its utmost to bring wrongdoers to account, not letting them off the hook.
"It is vital that the Worksafe NZ not allow itself to be compromised like this and essential it acts in a way to win the trust and confidence of all New Zealanders when it comes to enforcing workplace health and safety,” Andrew Little said.