Committee Stage Of Health And Safety Bill

by Desk Editor on Wednesday, August 19, 2015 — 6:29 PM

The committee stage consideration of the Health and Safety Reform Bill has begun and it is set to be a long one.

The complex bill including six parts plus schedules. A number of amendments have already been tabled from other parties and the Government has indicated it will be introducing more as well.

Workforce Relations Minister Michael Woodhouse said he has wanted to start the committee stage yesterday, but it was important to get the bill right.

He has spoken to many families who had lost loved ones in workplace accidents and all in their grief wanted improvements made. Dr Woodhouse said the Government was committed to improving not only the law and regulation, but also workplace culture and practices.

Dr Woodhouse said he was releasing the list of exemptions from the full sets of regulations and acknowledged there would be debate around this, but it was important to get the balance right.

Labour’s Phil Twyford said Labour had supported the bill as introduced as did most parts of the union and business sectors as they all wanted a game changing law in the wake of the Pike River Coal Mine disaster.

However the bill had been watered down and substantially weakened through the exemptions for small businesses. In particular Labour objected to the removal of compulsory health and safety officers in all workplaces.

Consideration of the first part of the bill extended well into the dinner break with Labour objecting to a closure motion and the Speaker being recalled to rule it was in order. Voting on Part One ended at 6.20pm with debate resuming on Party Two at 7.30pm

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