Workplace Relations and Safety Minister Michael Wood responds to report children's campground could close after WorkSafe complaint

  • 14/04/2023

Workplace Relations and Safety Minister Michael Wood agrees "we do want our kids to have some real fun" after a report emerged about a renowned Canterbury children's campground facing closure over a complaint to WorkSafe.

Banks Peninsula's Little River Campground had been complained about to WorkSafe and the owners were questioning whether they could afford to keep operating due to safety compliance costs, Stuff reported.

The campground markets itself as "camping the Kiwi way" with "scary" slippery slides and a "crazy giant swing" for children to enjoy. 

Asked by AM host Melissa Chan-Green what he made of the WorkSafe complaint, Wood agreed children needed to be able to have fun.

"I've read up a bit about this story and this case and I think, in this one, everyone's trying to do the right thing here," he said. "The people who own the campground sound like really cool people - they're trying to provide a great experience and we do want our kids to be able to have those outdoor experiences, have some real fun and we know that manageable risk is a part of that."  

Wood added it wasn't a case of "WorkSafe coming in and trying to shut them down".

"There was a complaint. In fact, someone dislocated their leg so there was quite a serious injury," he said.

"WorkSafe would be criticised if they actually didn't go and investigate that.

"What the owners have actually said is, 'WorkSafe has been really positive and helpful.' WorkSafe hasn't closed down the camp and, actually, WorkSafe has said that the issues they've identified are easily fixable."

The workplace safety watchdog would continue working with the campground owners to "ensure this is a safe place", Wood said.

While "we want to have kids have a good experience", the campground still had a duty of care for the people who stay there, he said.

"It's about getting that balance right."

A post on the campground's Facebook page on Thursday said the owners "don't want to close but can't continue in the same way" without changes being made.

"We're open to ideas," the post said.

"Thank you again all for the support, it really is appreciated."