August 21, 2015
Testy debate on workplace tapu
Maori Party co-leader Marama Fox says the party won useful changes to the new workplace health and safety legislation debated in parliament yesterday.
Labour MP Nanaia Mahuta challenged the Maori Party to oppose the bill, because it means large numbers of workers in smaller workplaces will not be covered.
But Ms Fox says while the bill was not as strong as it could be, the Maori Party got changes by being at the table.
These included greater worker participation and extending the period for whanau to take private prosecutions if investigations by Work Safety drag on towards the two-year mark.
"That limits the ability of whanau to take private prosecution because under the law as it currently stands you only have two years. We've been able to get an extension of 3 months which is a short period but that's all that a whanau will need to lodge a prosecution if they feel it is warranted and if that's the outcome of an investigation" says Marama Fox.
Debate on the bill got testy when Labour MP Sue Moroney brought a casket into the House as a symbol of someone who had died in a workplace accident.
Ms Fox said it made her feel she was speaking at a tangi rather than debating points of law.
National MP Hekia Parata was also disturbed by the presence of the casket.
But Ms Moroney said there were no ashes in the casket, and she eventually removed it.
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