Sobering health and safety message to National

  • 26/07/2015
SkyCity (File)
SkyCity (File)

A woman who lost her husband in a forestry accident in 2009 wants the government to take stronger action to ensure people are safe at work.

Deborah McMillan was holding a silent vigil outside the National Party's annual conference in Auckland this morning.

She's set up 291 white crosses on the street outside the SkyCity convention centre, with each one representing a person who has died at work since the 2010 Pike River mine disaster.

"We've had 10 Pike Rivers since John Key promised to improve work safety laws in 2010," Ms McMillan said.

"Not only has he broken his promise, he wants to make it worse."

The government promised a shake-up of health and safety laws in the aftermath of Pike River, where 29 men were killed in underground explosions, and it unveiled the changes it wants to make to its proposed health and safety reforms on Friday.

The changes weaken requirements on small businesses to appoint health and safety representatives and Labour's withdrawn its support for the bill.

The bill's select committee review process was delayed for months while National Party MPs fielded negative feedback from small business owners and farmers.

They feared the new regime would saddle them with unnecessary costs and legal obligations.

Ms McMillan said she's committed to working to strengthen health and safety laws.

"No family should have to go through what we did. It's been horrible."