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Wilkinson must go to progress mine safety

19 July 2011

Wilkinson must go to progress mine safety

The Government must replace current Minister of Labour Kate Wilkinson and act immediately to improve mine safety, Green Party West Coast based MP Kevin Hague said today.

The Royal Commission into the Pike River mining tragedy has heard from a Department of Labour witness that Ms Wilkinson rejected suggested improvements to mine safety in 2009.

“Ms Wilkinson has compromised her credibility by rejecting safety improvements suggested in a 2008 Department of Labour Discussion Paper such as check inspectors,” said Mr Hague.

“Someone has to be held accountable for failing to implement steps to improve mine safety.

“Nothing has been done to improve mine safety for workers since Pike River.

“The Government doesn’t need to wait for the Royal Commission before improving the safety of those working underground.

“The Bolger National Government of 1992 disestablished the position of check inspector – a worker with the authority to clear a mine considered dangerous.

“Evidence before the Royal Commission now shows that the current Minister quashed suggested improvements to the health and safety of those in the underground mining industry.

“The Government should implement the safety recommendations from the 2008 Department of Labour Discussion Paper now.

“If Ms Wilkinson is an impediment to improving mine safety, then surely she should step aside,” said Mr Hague.

ENDS

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