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Paula Bennett’s loopy rules do not actually exist

Written By: - Date published: 9:30 am, September 23rd, 2015 - 26 comments
Categories: Abuse of power, health and safety, national, paula bennett, Politics, same old national, workers' rights - Tags: ,

The Government yesterday released the Loopy Rules Report. I had a bit of a read of it and it looks like a state subsidised bitch session rather than a serious attempt to analyse and propose reforms for central and local government processes.  The report is mostly a collection of anecdotal complaints although some attempt has been made to determine if the loopy rules actually exist.

The headline proposal that has come from the release of the report is to allow builders to self certify aspects of their work.  Whoever can with a straight face propose this after the devastation caused by deregulation which allowed for the use of untreated timber and the leaky home fiasco needs to have their cognitive functions tested urgently.

Helen Kelly has mentioned on twitter some interesting aspects to the Government’s propaganda and some of the findings of the taskforce which suggests that Paula Bennett may have been, ahem, misguided when she talked about the need for the review.

Helen was clearly incensed when Bennett attacked health and safety legislation because of some bizarre rules:

The context and timing is interesting. The rules reduction work was occurring at the same time that the Health and Safety legislation was stalled.

This is an email Helen received from Bennett’s office in response to her request:

Paula Bennett email

It appears that a response has not been received.

But this DIA’s webpage has this passage under the headline “Busting a few myths”

Myth: Lolly scrambles are banned because they’re unsafe for kids.

Reality: Not true. There are no Government health and safety rules against lolly scrambles at things like Santa Parades. There has been some concern that children could be injured running in front of floats, and while this is a valid concern, the most important thing is for event organisers, parents and caregivers to use common sense to keep kids safe.

Myth: It’s illegal to use step-ladders and saw horses

Reality: There are no Government rules banning their use. There are also no rules requiring harnesses or scaffolding to complete work at small heights. What is absolutely important is that people are careful when they use step-ladders or saw horses.However, The Health and Safety in Employment Act 1992 requires that they be used in the way the manufacturer intended them and that employers take steps to eliminate the risk of a person falling and injuring themselves.

Who knows how inaccurate the other examples gave by Bennett are. But certainly the first two in her list are loopy misrepresentations of the reality.

The report has this to say about the myths:

It was a surprise to us to find out that a number of the loopy rules are in fact just myths. They are misinterpretations and misunderstandings that have been repeated so often that they have taken on the status of facts. We heard many examples where people are not clear about what they need to do and why. Myths fill the gap when clear information is hard to find.

The whole campaign appears to be a waste of taxpayer’s money with the goal of undermining the very serious issue of workplace safety at a time that the Health and Safety bill was under political attack by the right.  And there should be a special place in hell for politicians who make loopy claims about non existent rules.

26 comments on “Paula Bennett’s loopy rules do not actually exist ”

  1. Tracey 1

    Paula Bennett’s reply to a reference to Leaky Buildings is that “we’ve come a long way since then”.

    Yet, Politicians lie and mislead at least as much, if not more, than since 1995, so have we actually come any distance at all? Money still is the measure of success of a project. Money is still the be all and end all. And a woman who can’t recall the Cabinet Club despite referring to it in parliament, can hardly be counted on to give it to us straight, can she?

    So, Paula promulgated a whole lot of myths, then formed a committee, who discovered the myths are, well, myths, and then announced measures to addressed these mythical rules? (and takes the opportunity to get read of some other stuff while they can?) AND put John Hone Carter on the Committee…

    Nick Smith or Paula Bennett? Talk about Nelson’s choice

    No Paula, people like you haven’t come a long way since the 1990’s at all.

    • NZJester 1.1

      Actually Paula Bennet has come along way since the 90s and all thanks to those free government training courses she was able to attend. You know the ones I’m talking about, the same ones that she axed when she was the minister in charge of Work and Income.

      • Tracey 1.1.1

        I DO!

        And now to hear Anne Tolley talking about problems at CYFPS as though;

        1. National hasn’t been in charge for 7 years; and
        2. That no one told them to focus on high risk and budget.

        And the answer? Well, always it is to line the pockets of the private sector with taxpayer money.

  2. tc 2

    Nice work from HK but where is the focus from the opposition on such weak links like Pullya, ayatolley, Hecklia and their woeful portfolios.

    This is a minister who admitted deliberately breaching privacy laws so how about rubbing her nose in that as part of the higher standards the nact work to.

    Multiple entry points are ready and waiting as they’ve become so accustomed to a compliant MSM and DP tactics should they require them they’re simply making it up now.

  3. One Anonymous Bloke 3

    Myths fill the gap when clear information is hard to find.

    Translation: the National Party tells lies for a reason.

    • McFlock 3.1


      Since the 1980s the tories have been using such lies (and the occasional true but rare example) to promulgate the myth of governmental incompetence.

      The fact is that governments are no worse, and frequently better than, any other large organisation. For rvery “Yes Minister” episode there’s one from “the Office”, for every “loopy rule” there’s three managers at Initech talking about new TPS reports.

      But the nats have their agenda, and they won’t let the facts get in the way of it.

  4. Al66 4

    Following her master, John boy, Ms Bennett has learned that lying is not going to be scurinised by the mainstream press therefore might as well do it because the press will do nothing and the public will assume it is accurate information. The fiasco around Dirty Politics not gaining any political traction is evidence of the mainstream media malaise.

    • One Anonymous Bloke 4.1

      Not so sure about that. This is an issue that affects the back pocket directly. National Party criminality does more complex, insidious forms of harm.

    • dukeofurl 4.2

      They have just got rid of the middleman, Whaleoil, and now are directly running bullshit to the media.

  5. Clemgeopin 5

    Nick Smith for leader of National and Paula Bennett his deputy. Two wit nuts. Will make a brilliant team reflecting their party’s values.

    And oh, they could self regulate themselves too.

    • dukeofurl 5.1

      Shes more Norma Desmond than a deputy PM.

      All thats missing is the monkey ?

      • Clemgeopin 5.1.1

        Norma Desmond! She didn’t ring a bell at all. Before my time. I had to look her up. Here she is!


    • NZJester 5.2

      The National party is currently self regulating. John Key is currently the Judge and Jury that considers any punishments for any rule breaches that might occur. Look at everything that various members of the National party have done and then just got a slap on the hand with a wet bus ticket. In most cases how ever they didn’t even get that.

      • Clemgeopin 5.2.1

        ” Look at everything that various members of the National party have done and then just got a slap on the hand with a wet bus ticket’

        Really? Well, except for the hapless Aaron Gilmore, for his heinous crime of uttering the unforgettable drunken words, “Do you know who I am?”! Poor bugger!

    • sirpat 5.3

      I think most of the problem is that they are um self regulating too much…..affects their sight and hearing!!!!

  6. Pat 6

    loopy rules may not exist however loopy ministers obviously do

  7. Mondograss 7

    Personally, having renovated several houses now, I’ve found the council to be universally awful to deal with when it comes to smallinexpensive works. I like to keep everything I do compliant, but when it comes to costing $6000 in engineers reports, architects drawings and consent costs, to get approval to build a deck that any competent builder could do for $10,000, then I draw the line.

    It’s not the big stuff that’s actually the issue (if you can afford to build a whole house then you can afford the compliance costs), it’s little jobs where the red tape just sucks your will to live and this leads to a massive culture of avoidance. So you get houses with ongoing compliance issues being passed from buyer to buyer and never actually being made compliant.

    That’s not to say that we should de-regulate, but I think there is scope to say that builders could do more in the way of minor works with minimal notification to the council and maybe a spot-check process.

    • dukeofurl 7.1

      Trouble is when decks collapse people are injured or killed.

      Ireland did have the ‘self certify’ model before the GFC when they had a property boom. It was a total disaster as there were whole subdivisions of new houses that were unlivebale with many many faults.

      Was a contributor too their banks collapsing under the debt of junk housing. So there is a whole lot more hell apart from ‘just’ leaky homes.

      The answer is the ‘self certifying builders’ to have complete insurance, paid up front to cover any compliance issues.

      Insurance companies would run a mile , as they did when the private building consents companies were faced with leaky homes issues

    • s y d 7.2

      Hmm Mondo, what kind of deck are you talking about? – all decks where the fall is less than 1.5m are already exempt from consent and simply need to be designed and built to code (as a minimum).

      There are now many, many other exemptions for smaller works – get the info from the MBIE website. save yourself some grief.

      If you are in Auckland, I agree the council is generally (not always though) dreadful to communicate/deal with, but most others I have found to be really good.

      • Mondograss 7.2.1

        It’s a first floor deck so does need a consent, kind of. It actually will replace an existing deck that is dangerously rotten so I’m getting advice on whether it can be done under a repairs and maintenance exemption. I’ve found a lot of building consultancies are uninterested though, which doesn’t help. Quite a few have told me that the council is impossible to deal with over minor works and it’s just not worth their while being involved.

        But if not exempted, the cost of getting consent is as I’ve stated. Which is well over the top for the sort of job it is. I’d happily pay a few hundred for the council to send an inspector out to check the job when it’s done. But the cost of the drawings and engineering that’s now required is huge.

        I’m not denying that badly built decks collapse, but at the same time, whats the point in having a licensing regime for builders if you don’t trust them to build safely. The trouble is that a lot of work is being done by amateurs trying to avoid the compliance regime and that’s WAAAY more dangerous. I’m not saying you go totally “self certify”, just that there has to be a better way to handle minor works than the current model.

        I agree about builders having personal liability though.

        • Craig H

          Not to mention the obvious issue that if nobody can be bothered to go through the consent process, it undermines it badly.

    • weston 7.3

      every time a person rings council they add a little to council power and diminish their own by the same amount councils are out of control and its nobodys fault but ours

  8. Mike the Savage One 8

    If only sleepy Kiwis would get it, the threat is much greater than Key:

    What is your dear answer to that?

  9. Tracey 9

    Interestingly no right wing apologists int his thread… even they can see?

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