Gordon Campbell | Parliament TV | Parliament Today | News Video | Crime | Employers | Housing | Immigration | Legal | Local Govt. | Maori | Welfare | Unions | Youth | Search

 

Charges laid over Mangatepopo Gorge deaths


MEDIA RELEASE
14 October 2008
Charges laid over Mangatepopo Gorge deaths

The Department of Labour is prosecuting the Sir Edmund Hillary Outdoor Pursuits Centre of New Zealand (OPC) over an accident in the Mangatepopo Gorge on April 15, 2008, that claimed the lives of six students and one teacher from Elim Christian College.

"The Department considers that there were steps OPC should have taken to better ensure the safety of the group on the day," said Mike Munnelly, the Department of Labour's Central Region Manager of Health and Safety Services.

Four charges were laid today under the Health and Safety in Employment Act 1992. Two relate to OPC's obligations to protect the instructor who went into the gorge with the students and teacher. The third relates to OPC's obligation to ensure that its employee's actions didn't expose others to avoidable risks. The fourth charge relates to OPC's obligation to appropriately ensure the safety of other people in the place of work.

The charges were laid in the Wellington District Court, but will be filed in the Taumarunui District Court the closest court to OPC's registered head office and the scene of the incident. The first hearing is likely to be in four to six weeks.

No other charges will be laid by the Department.

Mr Munnelly said the Department wanted to acknowledge the tremendous dignity and strength shown by the victims' families and friends, and by the survivors, despite the trauma they had suffered. "Prosecution action is not commenced lightly by the Department, and we appreciate that this is a difficult time for everyone involved in this tragic event."

"But seven people lost their lives that day and several others were put in serious danger. So it is important that someone is required to answer what the Department says were failures to better ensure the safety of the group. Our hope is that this prosecution may help prevent others from suffering a similar loss in future."

As this matter is now before the court no interviews or further comment will be provided.

ENDS

Editor's Note
The health and safety services, formerly referred to as Occupational Safety and Health (OSH) should now be referred to as the Department of Labour.
Details of the charges - OPC has been charged under the Health and Safety in Employment Act in relation to:
Section 6 and 50(1)(a) - As an employer, it failed to take all practicable steps to ensure the safety of its employee, Jodie Sullivan, while at work;
Section 10(2)(c) and 50(1)(a) - As an employer, it failed to monitor Jodie Sullivan's exposure to the hazard of a flash flood;
Section 15 and 50(1)(a) - As an employer, it failed to take all practicable steps to ensure that no action or inaction of Jodie Sullivan harmed any other person;
Section 16(2)(b)(i) - As a person who controlled a place of work, it failed to take all practicable steps to ensure the safety of persons in the place.
The last two charges have been laid in the alternative, which means the Department is seeking conviction on one, but not both, of these charges.

Why the Department of Labour is involved
The Department investigates when people are killed or seriously injured in a workplace, and in this case the Mangatepopo Gorge is considered a workplace.

These investigations try to identify what led to the accident, whether anything could have been done under the circumstances to prevent it, and what steps could be taken to prevent a similar accident in future.

Potential penalties
If OPC pleads guilty to, or is found guilty of, the charges above, the Court may sentence it to a fine of up to $250,000 per offence, reparation to victims, or both.

ends


© Scoop Media

 
 
 
Parliament Headlines | Politics Headlines | Regional Headlines

Gordon Campbell: On Why New Zealand Needs To Change Its Defence Habits


In a flashback to the military displays of days gone by, one of our frigates recently joined a Carrier Strike show of force in the South China Sea, en route to a joint military exercise in Singapore with our traditional allies, called BersamaGold21. Reportedly, Anna Powles, from the Centre of Defence and Security Studies at Massey University felt this to be a case of us doing our bit to uphold international law, and the right of free transit through the region in question... More>>

Government: New COVID-19 Protection Framework Delivers Greater Freedoms For Vaccinated New Zealanders


Vaccinated New Zealanders will regain everyday freedoms when the country moves to a new simplified COVID-19 Protection Framework that doesn’t rely on nationwide lockdowns as the main measure to stop the virus spreading. In a suite of announcements that establish a pathway out of restrictions the Government is also providing up to $940 million per fortnight to support businesses through the challenging period... More>>

ALSO:





 
 


Government: Responds To Independent Review Into WorkSafe

The Government has clear expectations that WorkSafe must action the recommendations of the independent review into the regulator to improve its management of adventure activities following the tragedy at Whakaari White Island, Workplace Relations and Safety Minister Michael Wood says... More>>

Government: New Zealand Secures Historic Free Trade Deal With The United Kingdom
New Zealand and the United Kingdom have agreed in principle the details of a historic Free Trade Agreement (FTA), which will further accelerate our COVID-19 economic recovery say Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern and Minister for Trade and Export Growth Damien O’Connor... More>>

ALSO:

Ombudsman: Launches Investigation Into MIQ Booking System
The Chief Ombudsman Peter Boshier is launching a broad investigation into the Managed Isolation and Quarantine (MIQ) booking system after receiving hundreds of complaints... More>>

ALSO:


Pay Cheque To Pay Cheque: Half A Million New Zealanders Have No Savings
New findings from the Consumer NZ sentiment tracker found that 15% of New Zealanders had no savings, and a further 27% were anxious about their level of savings and would like to have more tucked away... More>>


Government: Mandatory Vaccination For Two Workforces

Large parts of two workforces critical to preventing the spread of COVID-19 will be required to be vaccinated, COVID-19 Response Minister Chris Hipkins said today. “Our education and health and disability workforces have done an incredible job throughout this pandemic to keep themselves and people safe,” Chris Hipkins said.... More>>


Green Party: Deeply Concerned Space Launches May Be Breaching Nuclear-free Laws

The Green Party is deeply concerned that space launches by Rocket Lab may be breaching nuclear-free laws, given our long-standing position as a signatory of the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty... More>>


 
 
 
 
 
 

LATEST HEADLINES

  • PARLIAMENT
  • POLITICS
  • REGIONAL
 
 

InfoPages News Channels