Families of those killed at work fight to tighten Health and Safety Bill

By Ripeka Timutimu

Grieving families of loved ones killed at work say they will continue their quest to tighten up the Health and Safety Bill, despite the bill being passed in Parliament.

Te Kāea spoke to three women who have lost loved ones to the forestry industry.

Maryanne Butler-Finlay says, “We want them not to water down the Health and Safety Bill, we want it left the way it is, especially Forestry and Pike.

Donna McMutrie says, “We wouldn't want any other family to go through what we've had to go through and still going through.”

The Māori Party has worked hard to provide certainty for workers and their whānau in industries like mining, forestry and meat production, which will include a right to ask for a designated health and safety representative.

Marama Fox says, “Within that, to extend the time to allow them to take their case to court if they wish, so we support United Future leader Peter Dunne to look into hazardous or high risk working industries. We don't support the bill if the minister doesn't take those things into account.”

But even with those changes, these families say it's not enough.

Selena Eruera says, “I think they're twisted and very clever with words, and people that are clever with words, doesn't mean they know what the little man does, or needs. They can't wear their shoes.”

Despite the bill being passed into law, these families will carry on the fight so others don't lose their loved ones.