The Government’s proposed Health and Safety Reform Bill does not go far enough to protect those in specific industries with the highest rates of workplace deaths, says Maori Development Spokesperson Nanaia Mahuta.
“We are told that Maori workers are more likely to be seriously injured at a rate of 18 per 1,000 in the workforce compared to Pacific (15 per 1,000), Pākehā (14 per 1,000) or Asian (6 per 1,000) workers.
“The Bill proposes to exclude volunteers which is welcome relief to the school, church, community and voluntary sector who rely heavily on the time and contribution of like-minded people who support their efforts.
“The Minister also proposes to exclude ‘the family farm’ which is of particular concern given of the 294 workplace deaths between 2010-2015, 101 were recorded by Worksafe to have occurred in the agricultural sector.
“There is no assurance that workers operating in a small sub-contracting team will be covered which may leave forestry workers exposed.
“Over the past five years approximately 15% of all workplace deaths occurred in the Waikato. These were spread across the Agriculture, Mining, Construction and Forestry sectors.
“Labour believes that the Government has watered down health and safety reform which should cover all workers in all workplaces.
“The Maori Party have a real opportunity to stand up for safety in the workplace and oppose this legislation. Workers deserve better,” says Nanaia Mahuta.