Health And Safety Bill Progresses

by Desk Editor on Thursday, July 30, 2015 — 4:55 PM

The second reading of new health and safety legislation has been completed with Labour withdrawing its support for the reform.

The Minister responsible Michael Woodhouse said the Health and Safety Reform Bill was the biggest reform of health and saftety regime in 20 years and was a balanced approach to the issue.

The Government supported the committee’s amendment which focused on the most dangerous workplaces in order to reduce death and injuries, he said.

The changes would place responsibility on those running businesses and holding company officers and senior management were accountable for due diligence and ensuring they took steps to ensure safety.

Labour’s Iain Lees Galloway said he wanted to acknowledge those who died in the Pike River Mine disaster and all people who died in workplace accidents and their families. Prime Minister John Key had promised those families real change, but those families feel they have been let down.

Labour had been pleased with the original legislation, but it could no longer support the bill as it did not do enough. Deregulation had been a failure and the bill now continued this failure, he said.

The Greens also said they would oppose the bill with Kevin Hague saying the Government had caved in to bad employers.

New Zealand First MP Clayton Mitchell said the legislation was very prescriptive and while they supported the intent of the bill they could not support the form it is in. There was a number of unintended consequences in the bill and these included adding unnecessary costs on many small to medium sized businesses.

The bill completed its second reading by 63 to 56 with National, Maori Party, ACT and United Future in favour.
MPs then returned to the set piece committee stage of the Appropriation (2015/16 Estimates) Bill with just over five hours remaining.
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