web analytics

Remembering forestry workers

Written By: - Date published: 8:17 am, April 28th, 2014 - 15 comments
Categories: activism, capitalism, greens, health and safety, labour, same old national, Unions, workers' rights - Tags: , ,

I read the news about yesterday’s remembrance day, and today’s protest march with mixed feelings.  It is a very sad indictment of our current employment conditions that so many people have died on the job in 20th century New Zealand.   However, I also want to congratulate Helen Kelly for her support of the families, colleagues and friends of the deceased forestry workers.  Her efforts have resulted in on-going coverage of the issue in the mainstream media.

forestry

Today on Stuff, Matt Stewart reports:

She never really knew her dad but six-year-old Skyla still finds it hard to be without him, forestry widow Deborah McMillan says.

Skyla was just about to turn two when her father Shane Frater, 28, was killed instantly when falling tree debris smashed into his head on a forestry block near Te Pohue in May 2009.

“She has days when she just sits down and cries out of nowhere,” McMillan said.

Skyla and her mother were just two of more than 100 family members of workers killed on the job at a memorial service held in Wellington to mark yesterday’s international day of remembrance.

The grieving families of forestry workers who have died on the job say the time has come to regulate an industry they believe is controlled by greedy forest owners who push their contractors too hard, ultimately risking workers’ lives.

The families will march for those killed at work and lobby Parliament today, calling for better regulations and a keener focus on health and safety in a multibillion-dollar industry that claimed 11 workers from a workforce of about 6500 last year.

Overall, 51 people died doing their jobs, making forestry the country’s most deadly industry.

 

On NZ Herald, Natalie Akoorie reports on today’s procession to parliament:

The procession of the 100 grieving family members marks international Workers Memorial Day and will be led by the New Zealand Council of Trade Unions (CTU), which is raising money to bring private prosecutions over at least two of the deaths.

[…]

CTU president Helen Kelly said forestry was six times more dangerous than any other industry but all of the five worst industries followed a theme.

“They’re all primarily de-unionised, have long hours, have very dominant employer relationships and are largely contracted where the principals don’t employ the workers.”

The government has marginalised the health and safety of workers , especially those in the most at-risk jobs, for too long.  Key’s government has prioritized the interests of employers and big business. Simon Bridges, in a belated attempt at catch-up.

Labour Minister Simon Bridges said WorkSafe NZ had a clear mandate to bring down the death and injury toll in the workplace by 25 per cent in 2020.

Since August last year WorkSafe NZ had taken 300 enforcement actions in the forestry industry, including shutting down 25 operations, and there were currently two active prosecutions, he said.

[…]

Mr Bridges said the Health and Safety Reform Bill, currently at select committee, would overhaul the law and extend the duty to keep workers safe beyond the traditional employer.

Labour and the Greens are supporting the Bill as it is an improvement on current legislation, but, as shown in the speeches by the likes of Labour’s Darien Fenton and Damien O’Connor, and the Green MP Denise Roche.  They are concerned about some of the fish hooks in the finer detail, as well as the weak representation of workers.  Workers and unions have little voice in the procedures for health and safety, and health and safety representatives in the workplace are marginalised.  For instance, in the debate for the first reading of the Bill in March, Fenton said:

Labour has called on the Minister time and again to recognise the importance of the role of unions, of business, and of the Government coming together to improve health and safety in this country, but it seems to be being ignored. And then there is the training of health and safety representatives. The bill recognises and implements a worker participation system but is silent on their rights to training.

[…]

but what is also needed is recognition by this Government that our current employment laws and its proposed changes to those will work against the good intentions of this bill. I am calling on the Minister, with the good work on this Health and Safety Reform Bill, to withdraw his Employment Relations Amendment Bill to show that he finally understands that workers’ rights go hand in hand with health and safety.

 

15 comments on “Remembering forestry workers ”

  1. One Anonymous Bloke 1

    Simon Bridges needs more air-time. He’s such an asset to the National Party.

  2. Molly 2

    Such aspiration from Simon Bridges: “Labour Minister Simon Bridges said WorkSafe NZ had a clear mandate to bring down the death and injury toll in the workplace by 25 per cent in 2020.”

    Surely a party in coalition with ACT will have heard of the phrase zero tolerance?

    How hard is it to say “Our current priority will be to ensure that all policies and procedures are in place to continually work towards zero fatalities for NZ’ers at work.”?

    And 2020 as a target deadline – how decisive. Another statement that doesn’t require him to be effective now. And even then it is only a 25% reduction.

    Make you wonder what he thinks of the other 75% that he seems to be comfortable with losing…

    • One Anonymous Bloke 2.1

      They don’t donate to the National Party. Their employers’ employers do.

    • Rosie 2.2

      It’s a pathetic statement from Bridge’s Molly. Furthermore the Employment Relations Amendment Act will put workers at greater risk of harm. One of the changes is to do with removing the right to a rest break. It will be at the employer’s discretion if and when their workers can take a break.

      Workers who are already in higher risk jobs may experience fatigue and an increased stress which could lead to accidents.

      Andrew Little states how ineffective the new health and safety bill will be:

      “”Workplace regulation has a vital role to play in shaping culture and attitudes to health and safety, and ultimately the best health and safety performance comes down to workers having the knowledge and confidence to challenge unsafe practices, including by management.

      “Although the Government has put up a health and safety bill with improved worker participation, it will be totally meaningless alongside its employment law changes which are designed to shut down the voice of workers and give employers unilateral powers.”

      http://www.scoop.co.nz/stories/PA1404/S00404/workers-memorial-day-little-to-show-for-it.htm

      Sincere condolences to all those who have lost loved ones on the job – they should still be with you. Arohanui.

    • Kahukowhai 2.3

      Sure, if you want to live in a police state, you can have zero fatalities.

      Just shut down all the dangerous industries.

      • Richard McGrath 2.3.1

        You don’t need a police state to reduce forestry industry fatalities. Just remove the human element from the front line. Replace them with machines.

      • Nonsense. The entire London Olympic Park project was completed with no fatalies and less than a third of the building industry average number of accidents per hours worked. We can make work much safer, including dangerous work. It’s not rocket science.
        http://www.hse.gov.uk/press/2012/hse-olympics-research.htm

      • Rosie 2.3.3

        What a ridiculous statement Kahukowhai. Are you even familiar with how and why workplace accidents occur in NZ? Are you aware of the H&S training going on within different industries to educate workers and employers on harm minimisation and how the funding for such education is being reduced by ACC?

        The implementation of Health and Safety regulations have got nothing to do with a police state. You may not have noticed that we are living in a Police state already, where no persons privacy is guaranteed as a result of the GCSB and TICS Act’s. Theres your police state, right there.

        And what an insensitive comment to make on day when people were publicly mourning the deaths of 51 workers. I suggest you have a look at the following link. Look at the faces of the people on the march who have lost loved ones and have a listen to the speeches. You may learn something about the reason people are calling for improvements in H&S in the workplace.

        http://wellington.scoop.co.nz/?p=66775

  3. Darien Fenton 3

    Thanks Karol. It was a heartbreaking service yesterday. Simon Bridges should have to sit and listen. About to meet the march today. My admiration for the courage of the forestry families is immense. Keep on fighting.

  4. Mjoy 4

    There was a recent article in the Listener which makes it clear how this situation has developed, it is very enlightening and definitely worth reading.

  5. I hope Rachel Jones ,Labour’s excellent candidate for Tauranga debates this with Bridges she may well make mince meat of him. Listening to him on morning report today I was shicked at his arrogant reply .

    • Rosie 5.1

      Hi Pinky. Bridges arrogance is indeed shocking. It would be excellent if he could be unseated from Tauranga but it is a deep blue seat and a conservative electorate, so maybe not likely?

      Never the less, I hope the Labour candidate and her team give him heaps and hold him to account during the campaign. Good luck to them – and to the Greens too. I’m sure the people of the B.O. P haven’t forgiven the way the Govt handled the Rena disaster.

Recent Comments

Recent Posts

  • Government commits $4 million additional support for flood-affected Canterbury farmers
    Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern today announced the Government is injecting a further $4 million into relief funding to support flood-affected Canterbury farmers who are recovering from the damage of a historic one in 200 year flood. An additional $100,000 will also be provided to the Mayoral Relief Fund to support ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    3 hours ago
  • Appointment of Queen’s Counsel
    Attorney-General David Parker today announced the appointments of 10 Queen’s Counsel.   The newly appointed Silks are:   Auckland – Lynda Kearns, Stephen McCarthy, Ronald Mansfield, Alan (Fletcher) Pilditch, Davey Salmon, Laura O’Gorman  Wellington – Greg Arthur, Michael Colson, Victoria Heine  Christchurch – Kerryn Beaton   “The criteria for appointment recognise that ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    3 hours ago
  • Prime Minister congratulates victorious Black Caps
    Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern has congratulated Kane Williamson and the Black Caps for their victory over India in the final of the inaugural Cricket World Test Championship. “The Black Caps have made New Zealand proud. This was a masterful performance from a team at the top of their game and ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    6 hours ago
  • Further action to tackle cervical cancer
    Parliament has taken another step to help reduce the number of women who develop cervical cancer, with the Health (National Cervical Screening Programme) Amendment Bill passing its third reading. “I am very pleased by the robust consideration this Bill has received. It will ensure technology allows healthcare providers to directly ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    7 hours ago
  • $500 million seized from gangs and criminals
    A significant Government milestone has been reached with $500 million in cash and assets seized from gangs and criminals by Police over the past four years, Police Minister Poto Williams announced today. “During our last term in office, this target was set for 2021 with Police as part of our ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    8 hours ago
  • Congratulations to the Black Caps – World Champions
    Minister of Sport and Recreation Grant Robertson has congratulated the Black Caps as the deserved winners of the inaugural World Test Cricket Championship. “The Black Caps have pulled off a remarkable and deserved win in the World Test Championship final against India.  The final is the culmination of two years ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    9 hours ago
  • Alert Level 2 in Wellington, Wairarapa and Kāpiti Coast
    Alert Level 2 measures are now in place for Wellington, Wairarapa and Kāpiti Coast to the north of Ōtaki, COVID-19 Response Minister Chris Hipkins says. These measures are precautionary, following the potential exposure of New Zealanders to a COVID-19 case from Sydney. The person visited a range of locations in ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    22 hours ago
  • Speech to the India New Zealand Business Council Summit
    5pm, Wednesday 23 June 2021 [CHECK AGAINST DELIVERY] Tuia te Rangi e tū nei Tuia te Papa e takoto nei Tuia te here tangata Ka rongo te pō, ka rongo te Ao Tihei Mauri Ora   Introduction Namaskar, tēnā koe and good evening. Thank you for your kind invitation to ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    22 hours ago
  • Financial support for caregivers widened
    Children’s Minister Kelvin Davis has welcomed changes that will make it easier for caregivers looking after children outside of the state care system to access much-needed financial assistance. The Social Security (Financial Assistance for Caregivers) Amendment Bill will also allow these caregivers to access further benefits previously unavailable to them. ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 day ago
  • Agencies to have powers to secure maritime domain
    A Bill introduced to Parliament today aims to prevent serious criminal offending at sea, including transnational offending and organised crime, Foreign Minister Nanaia Mahuta announced. “Aotearoa New Zealand will be better placed to keep our maritime environment secure against threats like drugs trafficking, wildlife trafficking and human trafficking with the ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 day ago
  • Critical support for New Zealand’s budding researchers
    Fellowships to attract and retain talented researchers in the early stages of their career, have been awarded to 30 New Zealanders, Associate Research, Science and Innovation Minister Dr Ayesha Verrall announced today. “I am pleased to congratulate these researchers, who will be receiving funding through the MBIE Science Whitinga Fellowship. ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 day ago
  • Bill to stop taxpayers having to fund oil field decommissions
    The Government is preventing taxpayers picking up the bill for the decommissioning of oil fields, says Energy and Resource Minister Dr Megan Woods.  “After the Crown had to take responsibility for decommissioning the Tui oil field, it became clear to me that the current requirements around decommissioning are inadequate and ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 day ago
  • Quarantine Free Travel from New South Wales to New Zealand to pause
    New Zealand’s Quarantine Free Travel from New South Wales to New Zealand will be paused while the source of infection of new cases announced in Sydney is investigated, says COVID-19 Response Minister Chris Hipkins. There are 10 new community cases of COVID-19 today in New South Wales, taking the Australian ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 days ago
  • Milestone reached for Iwi Affiliation Population Counts
    Iwi affiliation data released today provides updated population counts for all iwi and addresses gaps in Māori data originating from the 2018 Census, says Associate Minister of Statistics Meka Whaitiri. “The release of the 2018 Iwi Affiliation Estimated Counts is a really important step, and I acknowledge the hard work ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 days ago
  • Ngāti Rangitihi Claims Settlement Bill passes first reading
    Treaty of Waitangi Negotiations Minister Andrew Little welcomed Ngāti Rangitihi to Parliament today to witness the first reading of The Ngāti Rangitihi Claims Settlement Bill. “I know it took a lot of hard work, time and patience by all parties involved to reach this significant milestone. I am honoured to ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 days ago
  • Speech to the Sustainable Healthcare and Climate Health Conference Aotearoa
    Mihi Tēnā tātou katoa Kei ngā pou o te whare hauora ki Aotearoa, kei te mihi. Tēnā koutou i tā koutou pōwhiri mai i ahau. E mihi ana ki ngā taura tangata e hono ana i a tātou katoa, ko te kaupapa o te rā tērā. Tēnā koutou, tēnā koutou, ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 days ago
  • Infrastructure Acceleration Fund opening for business
    Criteria to access at least $1 billion of the $3.8 billion Housing Acceleration Fund (HAF), announced in March, is now available, and an invitation for expressions of interest will be released on 30 June, Housing Minister Megan Woods has announced.  “This is a key milestone in our plan to accelerate ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 days ago
  • Bringing back the health of Hauraki Gulf
    New marine protection areas and restrictions on fishing are among a raft of changes being put in place to protect the Hauraki Gulf for future generations. The new strategy, Revitalising the Gulf – Government action on the Sea Change Plan, released today, draws on input from mana whenua, local communities, ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 days ago
  • Speech to AI Forum – Autonomous Weapons Systems
    AI Forum New Zealand, Auckland Good evening and thank you so much for joining me this evening. I’d like to start with a thank you to the AI Forum Executive for getting this event off the ground and for all their work and support to date. The prospect of autonomous ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    3 days ago
  • New Zealand boosts support to Fiji for COVID-19 impact
    Aotearoa New Zealand is providing additional support to Fiji to mitigate the effects of the current COVID-19 outbreak on vulnerable households, Foreign Minister Hon Nanaia Mahuta announced today. “Recognising the increasingly challenging situation in Fiji, Aotearoa will provide an additional package of assistance to support the Government of Fiji and ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    3 days ago
  • Round 2 of successful energy education fund now open
    $1.65 million available in Support for Energy Education in Communities funding round two Insights from SEEC to inform future energy hardship programmes Community organisations that can deliver energy education to households in need are being invited to apply for the second funding round of the Support for Energy Education in ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    3 days ago
  • New Ngarimu scholarships to target vocational training
    Associate Education Minister Kelvin Davis today announced three new scholarships for students in vocational education and training (VET) are to be added to the suite of prestigious Ngarimu scholarships. “VET learners have less access to study support than university students and this is a way to tautoko their learning dreams ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    3 days ago
  • Recognising the volunteers who support our health system
    Nominations have opened today for the 2021 Minister of Health Volunteer Awards, as part of National Volunteer Week. “We know that New Zealanders donate at least 159 million hours of volunteer labour every year,” Minister of Health Andrew Little said in launching this year’s awards in Wellington. “These people play ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    3 days ago
  • Drug Free Sport supported to deal with new doping challenges
    Drug Free Sport New Zealand will receive a funding boost to respond to some of the emerging doping challenges across international sport. The additional $4.3 million over three years comes from the Sport Recovery Fund announced last year. It will help DFSNZ improve athletes’ understanding of the risks of doping, ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    3 days ago
  • Government support for South Auckland community hit by tornado
    The Government is contributing $100,000 to a Mayoral Relief Fund to support Auckland communities impacted by the Papatoetoe tornado, Acting Minister for Emergency Management Kris Faafoi says. “My heart goes out to the family and friends who have lost a loved one, and to those who have been injured. I ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    4 days ago
  • Celebrating World Refugee Day
    World Refugee Day today is an opportunity to celebrate the proud record New Zealanders have supporting and protecting refugees and acknowledge the contribution these new New Zealanders make to our country, the Minister of Immigration Kris Faafoi said. “World Refugee Day is also a chance to think about the journey ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    4 days ago
  • Face to face meeting delivers significant progress on NZ-UK FTA
    New Zealand and the UK have committed to accelerating their free trade agreement negotiations with the aim of reaching an agreement in principle this August, Trade Minister Damien O’Connor announced. “We’ve held constructive and productive discussions towards the conclusion of a high-quality and comprehensive FTA that will support sustainable and inclusive trade, and ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    5 days ago
  • Government taking action to protect albatross
    New population figures for the critically endangered Antipodean albatross showing a 5 percent decline per year highlights the importance of reducing all threats to these very special birds, Acting Minister of Conservation Dr Ayesha Verrall says. The latest population modelling, carried out by Dragonfly Data Science, shows the Antipodean albatross ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    6 days ago
  • Adoption laws under review
    New Zealand’s 66-year-old adoption laws are being reviewed, with public engagement beginning today.  Justice Minister Kris Faafoi said the Government is seeking views on options for change to our adoption laws and system. “The Adoption Act has remained largely the same since 1955. We need our adoption laws to reflect ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    6 days ago
  • Wider roll-out of cameras on boats to support sustainability and protect marine life
    Up to 300 inshore commercial fishing vessels will be fitted with on-board cameras by 2024 as part of the Government’s commitment to protect the natural marine environment for future generations.  Minister for Oceans and Fisheries David Parker today announced the funding is now in place for the wider roll out ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    7 days ago
  • Plan for vaccine rollout for general population announced
    New Zealanders over 60 will be offered a vaccination from July 28 and those over 55 from August 11, Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern announced today. The rollout of the vaccine to the general population will be done in age groups as is the approach commonly used overseas, with those over ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    7 days ago
  • New Zealand introduces Belarus travel bans
    New Zealand has imposed travel bans on selected individuals associated with the Lukashenko regime, following ongoing concerns about election fraud and human rights abuses after the 2020 Belarus elections, Foreign Affairs Minister Nanaia Mahuta has announced. The ban covers more than fifty individuals, including the President and key members of ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • NZ economy grows driven by households, construction and business investment
    The Government’s efforts to secure the recovery have been reflected in the robust rebound of GDP figures released today which show the economy remains resilient despite the ongoing impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, Grant Robertson said. GDP increased 1.6 percent in the first three months of 2021. The Treasury had ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • Milestone 250th tower continues to improve rural connectivity
    The Government has welcomed the completion of the 250th 4G mobile tower, as part of its push for better rural connectivity. Waikato’s Wiltsdown, which is roughly 80 kilometres south of Hamilton, is home to the new tower, deployed by the Rural Connectivity Group to enable improved service to 70 homes ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • Quarantine Free Travel pause with Victoria to lift on Tuesday
    Following a further public health assessment of the COVID-19 outbreak in greater Melbourne, New Zealand’s Quarantine Free Travel pause with Victoria has been extended to 11.59pm on Tuesday 22 June, COVID-19 Response Minister Chris Hipkins says. It has been determined that the risk to public health in New Zealand continues ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • Prime Minister mourns passing of Dr Sir Ian Hassall
    Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern is mourning the passing of Dr Sir Ian Hassall, New Zealand’s first Children’s Commissioner and lifelong champion for children and children’s health. As a paediatrician Sir Ian contributed to a major world-first cot death study that has been directly credited with reducing cot deaths in New ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • APEC structural reform meeting a success
    APEC ministers have agreed working together will be crucial to ensure economies recover from the impact of COVID-19. Minister of Commerce and Consumer Affairs David Clark, chaired the virtual APEC Structural Reform Ministerial Meeting today which revolved around the overarching theme of promoting balanced, inclusive, sustainable, innovative and secure growth ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • Digital hub to boost investment in forestry
    A new website has been launched at Fieldays to support the forestry sector find the information it needs to plant, grow and manage trees, and to encourage investment across the wider industry. Forestry Minister Stuart Nash says the new Canopy website is tailored for farmers, iwi and other forestry interests, ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • Government continues support for rangatahi to get into employment, education and training
    Over 230 rangatahi are set to benefit from further funding through four new He Poutama Rangatahi programmes, Minister for Social Development and Employment Carmel Sepuloni announced today. “We’re continuing to secure our economic recovery from COVID by investing in opportunities for rangatahi to get into meaningful employment, education or training ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • NCEA subjects up for consultation
    The education sector, students, their parents, whānau and communities are invited to share their thoughts on a list of proposed NCEA subjects released today, Education Minister Chris Hipkins says. This is a significant part of the Government’s NCEA Change Programme that commenced in 2020 and will be largely implemented by ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago