MPs this afternoon debated the Health and Safety (Pike River Implementation) Bill, which implements changes to legislation following the Pike River Coal Mine tragedy.
Labour Minister Simon Bridges said the bill would implement the recommendations of the Royal Commission of Inquiry into the Pike River Coal Mine disaster and bring occupational health and safety practice in line with international norms.
The changes included an overhaul of regulations on mining health and safety and more power and clarity around the role of mines inspectors, he said.
Central to the bill was the creation of a stand-alone health and safety agency – WorkSafe
The bill also enabled a levy to set up a Mines Rescue Service which will specialise in dealing with accidents and emergencies.
Labour’s Darien Fenton said Labour would support the bill to select committee. She said it was an important, but highly technical bill sparked after the tragic death of 29 men in the Pike River Mine.
Labour would seek to get more involvement from workers within the health and safety regimes from mines and National seemed to be unsure about the need for union involvement.
Fenton also raised concerns about the loss of current inspectors before the new agency was set up and their replacement by less experienced people.
All parties indicated they would support the bill to select committee and it completed its first reading on a voice vote and was sent to the Transport and Industrial Relations Committee with a report back date of October 30
After the Pike River Bill, MPs began the second reading of the Psychoactive Substance Bill and debate was interrupted when the House rose at 6pm.
Earlier in the day the second reading of the Taxation (Livestock Valuation, Assets Expenditure, and Remedial Matters) Bill was completed on a voice vote.
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