New Zealand workplaces 'unnecessarily stressful' - Minister

Exhausted young man with laptop in office
Photo credit: Getty

Long hours and low pay are creating "unnecessarily stressful environments" in New Zealand's workplaces, Workplace Relations Minister Iain Lees-Galloway says.

He said he wants to see the death toll and injury rate in workplaces fall over the next 10 years.

Mr Lees-Galloway is highlighting mental health, the disproportionate number of Māori killed and injured at work and industries that need improvement - especially farming and forestry - in a new draft strategy.

The strategy will set out a plan for the next 10 years of health and safety in New Zealand.

The Minister told Newshub the Government is "very interested" in looking at what can be done to support good mental health and create workplaces free from bullying. 

"We know New Zealand workers work long hours for low pay, and that's the kind of environment where we can create unnecessary stress and put unnecessary pressure on people," Mr Lees-Galloway said.

"Workplaces where there [is] a lot of bullying, a negative environment and negative relationship between workers and management can create a lot of stress.

"It can create bullying. We work long hours [and] it can have a very negative impact on mental health."

Mr Lees-Galloway said there would be a focus on industries that need to see improvement, including the farming sector. 

"There are a whole host of reasons for that. There are often long hours, people are dealing with animals, with machinery, often in fairly unforgiving environments. It is often quite isolated, so when accidents occur, it can be a long time before getting treatment."

Public consultation on the 10-year health and safety strategy is open until 8 June. Submissions can be lodged on the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment's website.