web analytics

Fool’s gold

Written By: - Date published: 8:35 am, August 2nd, 2013 - 12 comments
Categories: business, health and safety - Tags:

While the GCSB story exploded yesterday another, just as important, story was playing out as select committee hearings began for the the Health and Safety (Pike River Implementation) Bill.

In their submission, the second largest miner operating in New Zealand, Oceana Gold, was busy explaining why the new legislation shouldn’t apply to them. Claiming instead that they had a great safety record and that a union-paid onsite check inspector (elected from members onsite, by members onsite) couldn’t be trusted to look after the safety of their peers without politicising the job.

It was “scary”, their General Manager Bernie O’Leary declared, to think that a union member could have the power to shut down operations if they felt they were unsafe. Health and safety was best left to the company.

What select committee didn’t know was that even as O’Leary was sitting there claiming the moral high ground on safety, operations at his Reefton mine had been stopped by the MBIE because they were too dangerous – more precisely there was a significant risk of trucks rolling off the edge of a fifty metre drop.

But it’s the idea of workers having control of health and safety that’s “scary”. You couldn’t make this shit up.

12 comments on “Fool’s gold ”

  1. Te Reo Putake 1

    Crikey, Irish, that’s shocker. Isn’t lying to a select committee a criminal offence?

  2. vto 2

    You are correct that that is unbelievable. The man is a fool – brainwashed.

    Remember though that this is a corporation talking, not a human. Corporations exist solely to make money. They are incapable of anything else and this should be borne in mind. His submission aint worth shit.

    This link here indicates the approach to all things mining by their owners – they don’t actually care about the environment or their workers. All sorts of shit goes on that never gets near the media. There are countless small ops all over the coast – it is like the wild west. You would shudder …
    http://www.stuff.co.nz/the-press/news/8986382/West-Coast-councillor-fights-mining-charges

    This same West Coast Regional Councillor, Allan Birchfield, the gold miner, about two years ago also went and stood behind a farmer in the dock being prosecuted by Birchfield’s own Council ffs for altering the course of the Taramakau River without consent. Complete and utter breach of the distinction between the elected Councillors and the executive of the Council. Unbelievable. Wild west. Not seen elsewhere in NZ – it is a throwback to the fifties…..

  3. Bill 3

    But…but…workers, being too stupid to recognise a 50m vertical drop would – on the basis of a tree falling in a forest with no one around blah blah – be perfectly safe, as they would be unable to plummet over that which cannot be recognised. It is only now – the danger having been brought to their attention – that operations will have to cease. Had management been left to not point out the potential harm that might result from being able to identify a potential source of harm, then any unaware worker slipping over the edge of the drop would have been in no position to remember how to fall, and thus, perfectly safe and able to simply step out ans away from the cab of any plummeting truck merely puzzled, perhaps, as to why their truck should suddenly have felt like a truck that was falling through thin air.

  4. Darien Fenton 4

    Wish I had known at the Select Committee! But I did know their EPMU members had submitted with a completely different view about check inspectors – seems Oceania hadn’t asked their opinions.

    http://www.nzherald.co.nz/nz/news/article.cfm?c_id=1&objectid=10906753

  5. Malcolm 5

    Workers already have the power to shut down operations if they think working is unsafe.

    Section 84 of the ERA.

    • Colonial Viper 5.1

      When was the last time this was ever used.

      • KJT 5.1.1

        Well I can name at least twice, by senior people, since the ECA, in my day job..

        One person, who did it, has never worked in New Zealand again!

        Another was blacklisted and worked elsewhere for 15 years. After getting over the health problems through overwork, and contracting on other jobs, he finally got a job back with the one NZ company which, occasionally, accepts non “yes” men.

        A couple more by those junior enough to have nothing to lose.

        Not much difference to mining really. The “regulator” chases “cover their arse” paperwork over minor things, and refuses to do their job. Which is addressing the real health and safety issues that occur. Specifically rest hours and manning. Which was very apparent when you dig deeper into the Rena incident.

        Concerns are expressed to the regulator and through the Unions regularly, but basically, no one wants to know.
        It doesn’t help that it is a world wide problem and NZ shipowners are competing with overseas ships allowed on our coastal runs who also, get away with it, with “flag of convenience” registration.

    • Draco T Bastard 5.2

      How many workers, that aren’t part of a union, know that?

  6. Malcolm 6

    But yeah, a totally disgusting attitude from Oceana. Methinks they deserve a little picket outside their offices.

  7. Murray Olsen 7

    The workers onsite are the best qualified to know if something is unsafe. Corporate types think risk is something to do with managing hedge funds. Why do we trust any of them, let alone turn one into our prumstah?

    • srylands 7.1

      Most “corporate types” in NZ wouldn’t know what a hedge fund is.

      I agree that H&S reps should be able to shut down operations in high risk industries like mining. You stop “trivial” shut downs by making sure the reps have good training.

Recent Comments

Recent Posts

  • Tokelau Language Week reminds us to stay united and strong
    Staying strong in the face of challenges and being true to our heritage and languages are key to preserving our cultural identity and wellbeing, is the focus of the 2020 Tokelau Language Week. Minister for Pacific Peoples, Aupito William Sio, says this year’s theme, ‘Apoapo tau foe, i nā tāfea ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 days ago
  • NZ announces a third P-3 deployment in support of UN sanctions
    The Government has deployed a Royal New Zealand Air Force P-3K2 Orion (P-3) maritime patrol aircraft to support the implementation of United Nations Security Council (UNSC) resolutions imposing sanctions against North Korea, announced Minister of Foreign Affairs Winston Peters and Minister of Defence Ron Mark. “New Zealand has long supported ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    6 days ago
  • Pacific trade and development agreement a reality
    Pacific regional trade and development agreement PACER Plus will enter into force in 60 days now that the required eight countries have ratified it. Trade and Export Growth Minister David Parker welcomed the announcement that the Cook Islands is the eighth nation to ratify this landmark agreement. “The agreement represents ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • Securing a pipeline of teachers
    The Government is changing its approach to teacher recruitment as COVID-19 travel restrictions continue, by boosting a range of initiatives to get more Kiwis into teaching. “When we came into Government, we were faced with a teacher supply crisis,” Education Minister Chris Hipkins said. “Over the past three years, we ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 weeks ago
  • Border exceptions for a small number of international students with visas
    The Government has established a new category that will allow 250 international PhD and postgraduate students to enter New Zealand and continue their studies, in the latest set of border exceptions. “The health, safety and wellbeing of people in New Zealand remains the Government’s top priority. Tight border restrictions remain ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 weeks ago
  • First COVID-19 vaccine purchase agreement signed
    The Government has signed an agreement to purchase 1.5 million COVID-19 vaccines – enough for 750,000 people – from Pfizer and BioNTech, subject to the vaccine successfully completing all clinical trials and passing regulatory approvals in New Zealand, say Research, Science and Innovation Minister Megan Woods and Health Minister Chris Hipkins. ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 weeks ago
  • International statement – End-to-end encryption and public safety
    We, the undersigned, support strong encryption, which plays a crucial role in protecting personal data, privacy, intellectual property, trade secrets and cyber security.  It also serves a vital purpose in repressive states to protect journalists, human rights defenders and other vulnerable people, as stated in the 2017 resolution of the ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 weeks ago
  • Ministry of Defence Biodefence Assessment released
    The Ministry of Defence has today released a Defence Assessment examining Defence’s role across the spectrum of biological hazards and threats facing New Zealand. Biodefence: Preparing for a New Era of Biological Hazards and Threats looks at how the NZDF supports other agencies’ biodefence activities, and considers the context of ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 weeks ago
  • New Approaches to Economic Challenges: Confronting Planetary Emergencies: OECD 9 October 2020
    New Approaches to Economic Challenges: Confronting Planetary Emergencies: OECD 9 October 2020 Hon David Parker’s response following Thomas Piketty and Esther Duflo. Good morning, good afternoon, and good evening, wherever in the world you might be. I first acknowledge the excellent thought provoking speeches of Thomas Piketty and Esther ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 weeks ago
  • Kaipara Moana restoration takes next step
    A Memorandum of Understanding has been signed today at Waihāua Marae between the Crown, local iwi and councils to protect, restore and enhance the mauri of Kaipara Moana in Northland. Environment Minister David Parker signed the document on behalf of the Crown along with representatives from Ngā Maunga Whakahī, Ngāti ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 weeks ago
  • New Zealand and Uruguay unite on reducing livestock production emissions
    Agriculture Minister Damien O’Connor and Uruguayan Minister of Livestock, Agriculture and Fisheries Carlos María Uriarte have welcomed the launch of a three-year project that will underpin sustainable livestock production in Uruguay, Argentina, and Costa Rica.  The project called ‘Innovation for pasture management’ is led by Uruguay’s National Institute of Agricultural ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 weeks ago
  • 3100 jobs created through marae upgrades
    Hundreds of marae throughout the country will be upgraded through investments from the Provincial Growth Fund’s refocused post COVID-19 funding to create jobs and put money into the pockets of local tradespeople and businesses, Regional Economic Development Minister Shane Jones and Māori Development Minister Nanaia Mahuta have announced. “A total ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 weeks ago
  • Health volunteers recognised in annual awards
    Health Minister Chris Hipkins has announced 9 teams and 14 individuals are the recipients of this year’s Minister of Health Volunteer Awards.  “The health volunteer awards celebrate and recognise the thousands of dedicated health sector volunteers who give many hours of their time to help other New Zealanders,” Mr Hipkins ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 weeks ago
  • Community COVID-19 Fund supports Pacific recovery
    The Minister for Pacific Peoples, Aupito William Sio says a total of 264 groups and individuals have successfully applied for the Pacific Aotearoa Community COVID-19 Recovery Fund, that will support Pacific communities drive their own COVID-19 recovery strategies, initiatives, and actions. “I am keen to see this Fund support Pacific ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 weeks ago
  • Community benefits from Māori apprenticeships
    Up to 50 Māori apprentices in Wellington will receive paid training to build houses for their local communities, thanks to a $2.75 million investment from the Māori Trades and Training Fund, announced Employment Minister Willie Jackson today. “This funding will enable Ngāti Toa Rangatira Incorporated to provide its Ngā Kaimahi ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 weeks ago
  • Training fund supports Māori jobseekers
    Rapidly growing sectors will benefit from a $990,000 Māori Trades and Training Fund investment which will see Wellington jobseekers supported into work, announced Employment Minister Willie Jackson today. “This funding will enable Sapphire Consultants Ltd. to help up to 45 Māori jobseekers into paid training initiatives over two years through ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 weeks ago
  • Ruakura Inland Port development vital infrastructure for Waikato
    The Government is investing $40 million to develop an inland port at Ruakura which will become a freight super-hub and a future business, research and residential development for the Waikato, Urban Development and Transport Minister Phil Twyford, and Māori Development Minister Nanaia Mahuta announced today. The funding has been has ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    3 weeks ago
  • Appointments made to Defence Expert Review Group
    Defence Minister Ron Mark announced today the establishment of an Expert Review Group to review a number of aspects of the New Zealand Defence Force’s (NZDF) structure, information management and record-keeping processes.  The Expert Review Group’s work arises out of the first recommendation from the Report of the Government’s Inquiry ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    3 weeks ago
  • No active community cases of COVID-19
    There are no active community cases of COVID-19 remaining in the country after the last people from the recent outbreak have recovered from the virus, Health Minister Chris Hipkins said today. “This is a big milestone. New Zealanders have once again through their collective actions squashed the virus. The systems ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    3 weeks ago
  • Clean energy upgrade for more public buildings
    More public buildings will be supported by the Government to upgrade to run on clean energy, the Minister for Climate Change James Shaw announced today. Minister Shaw announced that Lincoln and Auckland universities will receive support through the Clean-Powered Public Service Fund to replace fossil fuel boilers. Southern, Taranaki, and ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    3 weeks ago