Deborah McMillan’s story

Written By: - Date published: 7:30 am, August 3rd, 2015 - 36 comments
Categories: employment, health and safety, labour, national, same old national, workers' rights - Tags:

H&S protest 291 crosses

My husband Shane was killed at work.

He was working for a small crew on a forestry site on the Napier-Taupo road when it happened. It has changed my life, and the life of my beautiful daughter Skyla, forever.

She wasn’t even two years old when Shane died. Now as she gets older and understands more of what happened it just gets even harder. It’s something no family should ever have to go through.

But it happens to dozens of families every year. That’s why I’m never going to stop fighting for better health and safety laws. It’s why I’m putting my name, and Skyla’s name, to Labour’s changes to fix National’s weakened health and safety bill.

I want you to join us. Together we can make MPs like Peter Dunne and the Maori Party understand that they need to back these changes too. We can tell them how important this is to so many New Zealanders. We can get them to fix the law and help make all of us and our loved ones safer at work.

I sat in the public gallery at Parliament last Thursday while the government debated this law. They kept using the word “balance”, like there was some kind of acceptable number of people killed at work that you could “balance” against companies making more profit.

That’s wrong – everyone should be able to go to work and know that their lives aren’t at risk just because the government put making money ahead of their safety.

Thank you,

Deborah McMillan
Mother and health and safety campaigner

If you want to add your support to Labour’s proposed changes the electronic petition is here.

36 comments on “Deborah McMillan’s story ”

  1. Tory 1

    Let’s start with compulsory drug and alcohol testing

    • mickysavage 1.1

      You idiot. Forestry workers are being killed because of lax safety standards and poor pay and extended working hours which mean that accidents are very likely to occur.

      Your “lets blame the victim” line is an insult.

    • Draco T Bastard 1.2

      The Supreme Pointlessness of Drug Testing at Work

      This industry has relied on superficially intuitive arguments for drug testing: It’ll make employees use drugs less often and it’ll ensure a more efficient workplace. But those arguments have some significant holes.

      I got an idea: How about we do something worthwhile and not waste our time drug testing.

      • b waghorn 1.2.1

        “”So what does a reasonable drug-testing regimen look like? Frone’s view is that it should be kept in place for jobs in which safety is the concern—forklift operators, truck drivers—but phased out elsewhere. “”
        Did you read this bit??

        • Draco T Bastard

          One persons got a view, it’s not my view because the evidence indicates that it’s all pointless.

          Now, if you wanted to test for impairment I’d be all for it. It’d probably save time, money and peoples lives.

    • Molly 1.3

      … for the politicians who are failing to address this situation?…

      Because we all know that this is not a noticeable contributing factor in the safety and fatality statistics of our workers. Or did you just comment reflexively – without any knowledge or consideration?

    • b waghorn 1.4

      Most bush crews already have some form of testing or at least a provision for testing if the boss sees it as necessary.

    • Rosie 1.5

      Tory, you are being deeply disrespectful of the grieving of Shane McMillan’s wife and daughter.

      Had you been following Deborah’s story you would know that her husband was not under the influence of alcohol or drugs during his work shifts, rather he was fatigued by the long hard hours of work he was compelled to do or risk losing the contract.

      Your comment is unhelpful and cruel.

      Furthermore, going by your reckoning that A &D is a major contributor to workplace injury and death we would have to be a nation of wasters to have a workplace death rate 8 times higher than the UK.

      Why do you think that is? Surely that can’t be anything to do with regulation eh?

    • The Fairy Godmother 1.6

      Lets have compulsory drug testing for all cabinet ministers and if impaired they are out. There’s an idea, could improve work safety for everyone.

    • NZSage 1.7

      My first reaction to you response was to request it be removed. Now it can stay as a shinning beacon to the attitude, callousness and insensitivity of you and your “tory” sort.

      Idiot is too kind a description.

  2. ropata 2

    Typical callous Tory. Would drug testing have saved the Pike River miners? When NZ workers have the worst accident rate in the western world we need to look at all factors and primarily it’s a failure of government to regulate and monitor dangerous work places.
    The Kiwi can do attitude and or reputation for working hard and getting stuff done can be a weakness. The culture of working long hours on low pay and expected to produce results no matter what, is costing us big time

    • Draco T Bastard 2.1


      The problem is the drive for profit for the few from the work of the many.

  3. Dorothy B 3

    “Stand up and be counted” you are doing it really well Deborah and Skyla and I am sure Shane would be proud of you.
    It is not easy to understand that in the year 2015 that a government would still be so ignorant and callous
    as it defies intelligent thinking and planning. Our country will always depend on good workers and I
    value your efforts to remind us of this fact.

  4. Tory 4

    Ropata, stoned or drug/alchohol affected staff are also a hazard in the workplace. Comulsary testing would provide additional info when looking at accident systemic failures rather than your assertion that it’s all the governments fault.

    • McFlock 4.1

      Yes, affected staff can be a hazard in most workplaces (some of my best coding has been done while hungover).

      Testing for traces of drugs does not address impairment, nor does it address fatigue or simply not being able to respond in time any more.
      Your idea for compulsory testing is expensive and does not address the problem. It does, however, serve the tory inclination to control the private lives of employees.

    • Draco T Bastard 4.2

      Testing for drugs does nothing except waste time and money as I pointed out above. The blame for the excessive deaths in NZ lies almost solely with the bosses and owners – not the workers.

  5. ropata 5

    Hey Tory do you have any statistics to back up your theory of stoned workers everywhere? And why are you obsessed with blaming the victims rather than looking for broader solutions?

  6. esoteric pineapples 6

    I feel sorry for the driver of the train that crashed into the end of the Melling Line in Wellington because the brakes failed. He lost his job because he had the remnants of marijuana in his system although this had nothing to do with the crash. He saved a lot of people from injury and possible death when he rushed back and told everyone in the carriage to brace for the crash.

    Meanwhile, no one has been held accountable yet for the actual cause of the train’s brakes failing. This was likely due to decisions made by people higher up when purchasing the trains.

    In this case, the fact a worker had drugs in a system is being used to deflect responsibility from those in charge.

    • Rosie 6.1

      +1 esoteric pineapples

    • Meanwhile, no one has been held accountable yet for the actual cause of the train’s brakes failing.

      Here you’ve hit on exactly why employers find drug-testing so convenient. No need to investigate when you can just sack the scapegoat and write the accident off as caused by “drug-crazed employee.”

  7. b waghorn 7

    For all those anti drug testing people here pull you’re head out of you’re Arse! please.
    It is an issue in the forestry and while I didn’t care if my workmates and me where stoned or hung over when I was planting and pruning as soon as you step up to the logging side of things the need to be switched on is key to all involved.

    • McFlock 7.1

      Impairment is an issue.

      A piss test doesn’t test impairment.

      • b waghorn 7.1.1

        I realize its a blunt instrument but weed is still illegal .
        There is the spit test although I admit to knowing nothing about its pros/ cons or efficacy.

        • Draco T Bastard

          I realize its a blunt instrument but weed is still illegal .

          And what’s that got to do with anything?

          Also, you should probably look to see what’s actually illegal about marijuana.

          • b waghorn

            I don’t want to turn this post into a drug discussion next time weed comes up in om I’ll try and clear up what I meant.

        • McFlock

          Rather than paying for a spit test, they should probably pay for some sort of test that measures attention, focus, coordination and reaction time. And then if someone fails they can be asked why, and tested if drugs or alcohol are suspected.

          • miravox

            A “test that measures attention, focus, coordination and reaction time

            This is a sensible option because it picks up all sorts of impairment that can then be dealt with in ways that reflect the cause of that impairment.

            The trouble is sensible doesn’t seem suitable for rabid, over-emotional types (far too many of them in positions of authority) who prejudicially blame workers for pretty much all workplace health and safety problems.

    • …as soon as you step up to the logging side of things the need to be switched on is key to all involved.

      Absolutely. So, as soon as one of these drug-testing rip-off merchants comes up with useful ways to test for impairment, forestry companies would do well to implement them. Until then, it’s just ritual humiliation to let workers know where they stand.

      In any case, judging from the news reports it would be way more useful for them to come up with a test for fatigue…

    • CrashCart 7.3

      When I was working as a comercial fisherman there were a number of the crew who smoked weed. It is possible it could have contributed to an accident. It of course would have been blamed in stead of the times we worked for up to 40 hours straight with no rest, or in the middle of the night with no proper lighting or when the boats trottle wasn’t workign properly so speed couldn’t be adjusted unless you went down to the engine room.

      Most of the guys who smoked weed did so because the job was so bloody stressful and dangerous you wouldn’t be able to get your self up on deck unless you were taking something.

  8. greywarshark 8

    b waghorn
    Thanks for reality check. Good to hear a comment from a knowledgable person.

  9. ropata 9

    When my work mate fell into the slag pit and broke his back he wasn’t on any drugs

    When a tradesman was crushed by rollers there was no hint of drugs

    When the site “safety” officer fell off a platform and died nobody blamed drugs

    When I got hit by a forklift and nearly lost my foot I was totally straight.

    Some work places just have an utterly shit safety culture and that needs to change, or shut them down

  10. gsays 10

    a belated kia kaha to deborah and skyla.

    i was moved by your dignified protest at the sky/national party conference.

    i am humbled by your strength and grace.

  11. Tory 11

    Rosie, you are wrong and if you take time to read the report by Helen Kelly you will see that a posative test to dope (post death) was recorded. This is a contributing factor in the systemic failure, like it or not. Systemic failure is a list of compounding issues and use of dope prior to work will no doubt add to the problem, in my opinion.

    • ropata 11.1

      Yes, but THC can remain in the system for weeks with zero effect on performance. And why do we have a culture of treating manual workers like this?

  12. millsy 12

    But it is ok for bosses to overwork thier workers to the point where they are tired and threaten to sack them if they want a break. Testing is just invading workers privacy and a form of control.

Recent Comments

Recent Posts

  • Government invests in 1,500 more social homes
    The coalition Government is investing in social housing for New Zealanders who are most in need of a warm dry home, Housing Minister Chris Bishop says. Budget 2024 will allocate $140 million in new funding for 1,500 new social housing places to be provided by Community Housing Providers (CHPs), not ...
    13 hours ago
  • $24 million boost for Gumboot Friday
    Thousands more young New Zealanders will have better access to mental health services as the Government delivers on its commitment to fund the Gumboot Friday initiative, says Deputy Prime Minister Winston Peters and Mental Health Minister Matt Doocey.  “Budget 2024 will provide $24 million over four years to contract the ...
    18 hours ago
  • Residential Tenancies Amendment Bill passes first reading
    The Coalition Government’s Residential Tenancies Amendment Bill, which will improve tenancy laws and help increase the supply of rental properties, has passed its first reading in Parliament says Housing Minister Chris Bishop. “The Bill proposes much-needed changes to the Residential Tenancies Act 1986 that will remove barriers to increasing private ...
    1 day ago
  • Montecassino Commemorative Address, Cassino War Cemetery
    Standing here in Cassino War Cemetery, among the graves looking up at the beautiful Abbey of Montecassino, it is hard to imagine the utter devastation left behind by the battles which ended here in May 1944. Hundreds of thousands of shells and bombs of every description left nothing but piled ...
    1 day ago
  • First Reading – Repeal of Section 7AA of the Oranga Tamariki Act 1989
    I present a legislative statement on the Oranga Tamariki (Repeal of Section 7AA) Amendment Bill Mr. Speaker, I move that the Oranga Tamariki (Repeal of Section 7AA) Amendment Bill be now read a first time. I nominate the Social Services and Community Committee to consider the Bill. Thank you, Mr. ...
    1 day ago
  • First reading of 7AA’s repeal: progress for children
    The Bill to repeal Section 7AA of the Oranga Tamariki Act has had its first reading in Parliament today. The Bill reaffirms the Coalition Government’s commitment to the care and safety of children in care, says Minister for Children Karen Chhour.  “When I became the Minister for Children, I made ...
    1 day ago
  • China Business Summit 2024
    Kia ora koutou, good morning, and zao shang hao. Thank you Fran for the opportunity to speak at the 2024 China Business Summit – it’s great to be here today. I’d also like to acknowledge: Simon Bridges - CEO of the Auckland Chamber of Commerce. His Excellency Ambassador - Wang ...
    1 day ago
  • Assisted depatures from New Caledonia
    Foreign Minister Winston Peters has confirmed a New Zealand Government plane will head to New Caledonia in the next hour in the first in a series of proposed flights to begin bringing New Zealanders home.    “New Zealanders in New Caledonia have faced a challenging few days - and bringing ...
    2 days ago
  • Assisted departures from New Caledonia
    Foreign Minister Winston Peters has confirmed a New Zealand Government plane will head to New Caledonia in the next hour in the first in a series of proposed flights to begin bringing New Zealanders home.  “New Zealanders in New Caledonia have faced a challenging few days - and bringing them ...
    2 days ago
  • Government to rollout roadside drug testing
    The Coalition Government will introduce legislation this year that will enable roadside drug testing as part of our commitment to improve road safety and restore law and order, Transport Minister Simeon Brown says.  “Alcohol and drugs are the number one contributing factor in fatal road crashes in New Zealand. In ...
    2 days ago
  • Minister responds to review of Kāinga Ora
    The Government has announced a series of immediate actions in response to the independent review of Kāinga Ora – Homes and Communities, Housing Minister Chris Bishop says. “Kāinga Ora is a large and important Crown entity, with assets of $45 billion and over $2.5 billion of expenditure each year. It ...
    2 days ago
  • Pseudoephedrine back on shelves
    Associate Health Minister David Seymour is pleased that Pseudoephedrine can now be purchased by the general public to protect them from winter illness, after the coalition government worked swiftly to change the law and oversaw a fast approval process by Medsafe. “Pharmacies are now putting the medicines back on their ...
    3 days ago
  • New Zealand-China Business Summit
    Tēnā koutou katoa. Da jia hao.  Good morning everyone.   Prime Minister Luxon, your excellency, a great friend of New Zealand and my friend Ambassador Wang, Mayor of what he tells me is the best city in New Zealand, Wayne Brown, the highly respected Fran O’Sullivan, Champion of the Auckland business ...
    3 days ago
  • New measures to protect powerlines from trees
    Energy Minister Simeon Brown has announced that the Government will make it easier for lines firms to take action to remove vegetation from obstructing local powerlines. The change will ensure greater security of electricity supply in local communities, particularly during severe weather events.  “Trees or parts of trees falling on ...
    5 days ago
  • Wairarapa Moana ki Pouakani win top Māori dairy farming award
    Wairarapa Moana ki Pouakani were the top winners at this year’s Ahuwhenua Trophy awards recognising the best in Māori dairy farming. Māori Development Minister Tama Potaka announced the winners and congratulated runners-up, Whakatōhea Māori Trust Board, at an awards celebration also attended by Prime Minister Christopher Luxon and Finance Minister ...
    5 days ago
  • DJ Fred Again – Assurance report received
    "On the 27th of March, I sought assurances from the Chief Executive, Department of Internal Affairs, that the Department’s correct processes and policies had been followed in regards to a passport application which received media attention,” says Minister of Internal Affairs Brooke van Velden.  “I raised my concerns after being ...
    5 days ago
  • District Court Judges appointed
    Attorney-General Judith Collins has announced the appointment of three new District Court Judges, to replace Judges who have recently retired. Peter James Davey of Auckland has been appointed a District Court Judge with a jury jurisdiction to be based at Whangarei. Mr Davey initially started work as a law clerk/solicitor with ...
    6 days ago
  • Unions should put learning ahead of ideology
    Associate Education Minister David Seymour is calling on the Post Primary Teachers’ Association (PPTA) to put ideology to the side and focus on students’ learning, in reaction to the union holding paid teacher meetings across New Zealand about charter schools.     “The PPTA is disrupting schools up and down the ...
    6 days ago
  • Craig Stobo appointed as chair of FMA
    Commerce and Consumer Affairs Minister Andrew Bayly today announced the appointment of Craig Stobo as the new chair of the Financial Markets Authority (FMA). Mr Stobo takes over from Mark Todd, whose term expired at the end of April. Mr Stobo’s appointment is for a five-year term. “The FMA plays ...
    6 days ago
  • Budget 2024 invests in lifeguards and coastguard
    Surf Life Saving New Zealand and Coastguard New Zealand will continue to be able to keep people safe in, on, and around the water following a funding boost of $63.644 million over four years, Transport Minister Simeon Brown and Associate Transport Minister Matt Doocey say. “Heading to the beach for ...
    6 days ago
  • New Zealand and Tuvalu reaffirm close relationship
    New Zealand and Tuvalu have reaffirmed their close relationship, Foreign Affairs Minister Winston Peters says.  “New Zealand is committed to working with Tuvalu on a shared vision of resilience, prosperity and security, in close concert with Australia,” says Mr Peters, who last visited Tuvalu in 2019.  “It is my pleasure ...
    6 days ago
  • New Zealand calls for calm, constructive dialogue in New Caledonia
    New Zealand is gravely concerned about the situation in New Caledonia, Foreign Minister Winston Peters says.  “The escalating situation and violent protests in Nouméa are of serious concern across the Pacific Islands region,” Mr Peters says.  “The immediate priority must be for all sides to take steps to de-escalate the ...
    6 days ago
  • New Zealand welcomes Samoa Head of State
    Prime Minister Christopher Luxon met today with Samoa’s O le Ao o le Malo, Afioga Tuimalealiifano Vaaletoa Sualauvi II, who is making a State Visit to New Zealand. “His Highness and I reflected on our two countries’ extensive community links, with Samoan–New Zealanders contributing to all areas of our national ...
    7 days ago
  • Island Direct eligible for SuperGold Card funding
    Transport Minister Simeon Brown has announced that he has approved Waiheke Island ferry operator Island Direct to be eligible for SuperGold Card funding, paving the way for a commercial agreement to bring the operator into the scheme. “Island Direct started operating in November 2023, offering an additional option for people ...
    7 days ago
  • Further sanctions against Russia
    Foreign Minister Winston Peters today announced further sanctions on 28 individuals and 14 entities providing military and strategic support for Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.  “Russia is directly supported by its military-industrial complex in its illegal aggression against Ukraine, attacking its sovereignty and territorial integrity. New Zealand condemns all entities and ...
    7 days ago
  • One year on from Loafers Lodge
    A year on from the tragedy at Loafers Lodge, the Government is working hard to improve building fire safety, Building and Construction Minister Chris Penk says. “I want to share my sincere condolences with the families and friends of the victims on the anniversary of the tragic fire at Loafers ...
    7 days ago
  • Pre-Budget speech to Auckland Business Chamber
    Ka nui te mihi kia koutou. Kia ora and good afternoon, everyone. Thank you so much for having me here in the lead up to my Government’s first Budget. Before I get started can I acknowledge: Simon Bridges – Auckland Business Chamber CEO. Steve Jurkovich – Kiwibank CEO. Kids born ...
    1 week ago
  • New Zealand and Vanuatu to deepen collaboration
    New Zealand and Vanuatu will enhance collaboration on issues of mutual interest, Foreign Minister Winston Peters says.    “It is important to return to Port Vila this week with a broad, high-level political delegation which demonstrates our deep commitment to New Zealand’s relationship with Vanuatu,” Mr Peters says.    “This ...
    1 week ago
  • Penk travels to Peru for trade meetings
    Minister for Land Information, Chris Penk will travel to Peru this week to represent New Zealand at a meeting of trade ministers from the Asia-Pacific region on behalf of Trade Minister Todd McClay. The annual Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) Ministers Responsible for Trade meeting will be held on 17-18 May ...
    1 week ago
  • Minister attends global education conferences
    Minister of Education Erica Stanford will head to the United Kingdom this week to participate in the 22nd Conference of Commonwealth Education Ministers (CCEM) and the 2024 Education World Forum (EWF). “I am looking forward to sharing this Government’s education priorities, such as introducing a knowledge-rich curriculum, implementing an evidence-based ...
    1 week ago
  • Education Minister thanks outgoing NZQA Chair
    Minister of Education Erica Stanford has today thanked outgoing New Zealand Qualifications Authority Chair, Hon Tracey Martin. “Tracey Martin tendered her resignation late last month in order to take up a new role,” Ms Stanford says. Ms Martin will relinquish the role of Chair on 10 May and current Deputy ...
    1 week ago
  • Joint statement of Christopher Luxon and Emmanuel Macron: Launch of the Christchurch Call Foundation
    New Zealand Prime Minister Christopher Luxon and President Emmanuel Macron of France today announced a new non-governmental organisation, the Christchurch Call Foundation, to coordinate the Christchurch Call’s work to eliminate terrorist and violent extremist content online.   This change gives effect to the outcomes of the November 2023 Call Leaders’ Summit, ...
    1 week ago
  • Panel announced for review into disability services
    Distinguished public servant and former diplomat Sir Maarten Wevers will lead the independent review into the disability support services administered by the Ministry of Disabled People – Whaikaha. The review was announced by Disability Issues Minister Louise Upston a fortnight ago to examine what could be done to strengthen the ...
    1 week ago
  • Minister welcomes Police gang unit
    Today’s announcement by Police Commissioner Andrew Coster of a National Gang Unit and district Gang Disruption Units will help deliver on the coalition Government’s pledge to restore law and order and crack down on criminal gangs, Police Minister Mark Mitchell says. “The National Gang Unit and Gang Disruption Units will ...
    1 week ago
  • New Zealand expresses regret at North Korea’s aggressive rhetoric
    Foreign Minister Winston Peters has today expressed regret at North Korea’s aggressive rhetoric towards New Zealand and its international partners.  “New Zealand proudly stands with the international community in upholding the rules-based order through its monitoring and surveillance deployments, which it has been regularly doing alongside partners since 2018,” Mr ...
    1 week ago
  • New Chief of Defence Force appointed
    Air Vice-Marshal Tony Davies MNZM is the new Chief of Defence Force, Defence Minister Judith Collins announced today. The Chief of Defence Force commands the Navy, Army and Air Force and is the principal military advisor to the Defence Minister and other Ministers with relevant portfolio responsibilities in the defence ...
    1 week ago
  • Government puts children first by repealing 7AA
    Legislation to repeal section 7AA of the Oranga Tamariki Act has been introduced to Parliament. The Bill’s introduction reaffirms the Coalition Government’s commitment to the safety of children in care, says Minister for Children, Karen Chhour. “While section 7AA was introduced with good intentions, it creates a conflict for Oranga ...
    1 week ago
  • Defence Minister to meet counterparts in UK, Italy
    Defence Minister Judith Collins will this week travel to the UK and Italy to meet with her defence counterparts, and to attend Battles of Cassino commemorations. “I am humbled to be able to represent the New Zealand Government in Italy at the commemorations for the 80th anniversary of what was ...
    1 week ago
  • Charter schools to lift educational outcomes
    The upcoming Budget will include funding for up to 50 charter schools to help lift declining educational performance, Associate Education Minister David Seymour announced today. $153 million in new funding will be provided over four years to establish and operate up to 15 new charter schools and convert 35 state ...
    1 week ago
  • COVID-19 Inquiry terms of reference consultation results received
    “The results of the public consultation on the terms of reference for the Royal Commission into COVID-19 Lessons has now been received, with results indicating over 13,000 submissions were made from members of the public,” Internal Affairs Minister Brooke van Velden says. “We heard feedback about the extended lockdowns in ...
    1 week ago

Page generated in The Standard by Wordpress at 2024-05-22T15:03:55+00:00