Emotions Rise In Health And Safety Debate

by Desk Editor on Thursday, August 20, 2015 — 5:58 PM

The emotional aspect of health and safety legislation caused tension in the House today as MPs debated a casket being displayed.

After Question Time, returned to the interrupted committee stage of the Health and Safety Reform Bill with attention being brought to a casket in the House.

Labour MP Sue Moroney told the House the casket was on her bench as the family of someone who died in a workplace accident as a symbol of the issues being debated.

Chair of the House in Committee Chester Borrows said he was disturbed by the display and it should be removed from permanent display. Ms Moroney would be able to try and use the casket as a visual aid when she spoke, but he was of the view if this it happened he would rule it was inappropriate.

Mr Borrows said a number of MPs had expressed concern on this issue.

National Minister Hekia Parata said she was extremely disturbed and upset by the presence of the casket as it was tapu.

Green MP Denise Roche said the casket was symbolic and had been in the House for some time, while Maori Party MP Marama Fox said she also was upset as it felt she was speaking at a tangi, when MPs were meant to be debating points of law.

Ms Moroney assured the House no person’s ashes were in the casket and after some discussion agreed to remove them.

Debate on the committee stage was interrupted just before 6pm with MPs up to Part Four of the Bill’s six parts plus schedules.
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