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Improved regime for energy safety

23 November 2006

Improved regime for energy safety

Parliament has today passed legislation that will ensure the safe delivery and use of electricity and gas in New Zealand.

Amendments to the Electricity Act 1992 and Gas Act 1992, and a new Plumbers, Gasfitters and Drainlayers Act passed their third reading today.

"Broadly, this legislation introduces consistent regimes for workers in the gas and electricity sectors based on the registration of workers, competency-based licensing, updated procedures for addressing complaints against workers and updated enforcement provisions.

“The Electrical Workers Registration Board and Plumbers, Gasfitters and Drainlayers Board will play a critical role in the successful implementation of this legislation. They have been delegated the responsibility for the registration and licensing of their workers," Harry Duynhoven said.

The legislation includes a number of checks and balances to ensure these responsibilities are properly discharged, for example, the Boards must act in accordance with clear principles guiding registration and licensing.

“Both Boards can now commence work on defining new registration categories and standards, and the terms and conditions of registration and licensing. In doing so, the Boards must consider retaining the existing worker registration classes, and they must consult with stakeholders.

“I want to ensure workers that the transition arrangements prescribed in the legislation require that existing registrations and licences are carried forward.

"The new Plumbers, Gasfitters and Drainlayers Act also puts in place a range of accountability mechanisms to ensure there is not a repeat of the problems that came to light last year between the Plumbers, Gasfitters and Drainlayers Board and its industry.

"It was pleasing to hear in today's debate that all political parties recognise the important contribution that the plumbing, drainlaying, gasfitting and electrical industries make toward to the economic and social well being of New Zealand," Harry Duynhoven said today.

ENDS

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