Workplace safety Bill has 1 stage left

  • 26/08/2015

After three days of intense debate the Government's Health and Safety Reform Bill is through its committee stage in Parliament.

The 273-page Bill, the biggest shake-up in workplace health and safety laws in 20 years, is likely to be passed into law on Thursday after a two-hour third reading debate.

Opposition MPs fought the Bill to the last clause last night, complaining it was a feeble response to New Zealand's poor workplace safety record.

They're incensed by the Government's decision to classify dairy, beef and sheep farms as low risk, which exempts them from having elected safety representatives on site.

Labour and Green Party MPs accused the Government of caving in to the farming lobby.

"We didn't want a Bill that protects the National Party's voting base," said Labour's Ruth Dyson.

"This isn't the true reform that Parliament wanted and deserved."

NZ First's Clayton Mitchell said the Bill was full of half-measures.

"It's a cock-up," he said.

"We were excited about seeing positive change ... this isn't what New Zealanders expected."

Dozens of amendments put up by opposition MPs during the committee stage were defeated.

However, the Government accepted a change that will allow more time for private prosecutions to be laid against a company over a workplace accident.