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Labour will work to strengthen mine safety

Labour will work to strengthen mine safety

Labour will reinstate check inspectors within most mines around the country to help ensure that working conditions are safe for miners, says Labour Leader Phil Goff.

"We lost 29 precious lives in the Pike River disaster. We must do everything we can to avoid a similar tragedy happening again.

"We want miners and their families to know that when they enter a mine everything that can be done to keep them safe has been done. That's why we'll bring back check inspectors.

"Miners themselves have called for check inspectors. Labour has listened and will keep listening to what they think are the best options for improving safety.

National removed the requirement for check inspectors in 1992. Check inspectors are elected by the workforce and are responsible for the safety of workers. They have the ability to make decisions, along with others, to order the immediate withdrawal of miners in dangerous conditions. The cost of their work is covered by the mining company.

Labour will also work towards aligning New Zealand's mining regulations with those followed by the industry in Queensland where we can tailor them to our needs, said Phil Goff.

"The mining regulations in Queensland are comprehensive and include the requirement for an underground mine to have a principal hazard management plan.

"They have provisions relating to emergencies, rescue and communication, electrical equipment and installations, explosives, gas monitoring, mine design, operations, ventilation and working environment.

"Labour will also examine how New Zealand and Australia could share oversight of mine safety standards and enforcement for more effective safety regulation.

"Given last year's tragedy at Pike River and the risks involved in underground mining, a more robust system for ensuring working conditions in mines are safe is needed and now," Phil Goff said.

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