Red Alert

A hundred deaths and $3.5bl a year and finally, Williamson admits we have a problem….

Posted by on November 6th, 2012

The scale of the unsafe building practices revealed in a recent clampdown raises serious questions about why Maurice Williamson and his National-ACT Government have continued with such a nonchalant approach for so long.

The NZ Herald reported on November 2nd that since July, more than 400 actions have been taken against 760 construction sites for not complying with guidelines on safe working at height. Inspectors shut down 215 of the sites, and issued more than 160 written warnings requiring immediate remedial action.

While Building & Construction Minister Maurice Williamson finally admits there is a problem, this Government has had four years in office, and in the meantime, we’ve had an average of 100 deaths a year, with workplace injuries and fatalities reportedly costing New Zealand about $3.5 billion annually.

Translate that into the devastation caused to builders and their families, the lost productivity and the additional costs to ACC; these are not the standards we would expect of a developed nation.  Why should we accept that our construction workers are twice as likely to be killed or injured on the job, compared to workers on a site in the United Kingdom?

At the heart of the problem is this ‘hands off’ approach by a Government that imagines the market will sort somehow out its own problems.

It hasn’t worked in the mining industry, and it’s not working in the construction industry.

Labour believes we have to get back to having equal opportunities for all Kiwis; we do not accept that lowering our health and safety performance for some sectors is necessary for economic recovery.

With the Christchurch rebuild starting and the Government  now at least talking about the Auckland housing crisis, keeping workers safe must become a recognised priority for all parties involved.



8 Responses to “A hundred deaths and $3.5bl a year and finally, Williamson admits we have a problem….”

  1. bbfloyd says:

    i can’t imagine why it’s taken morrie the broken down lorry to take so long to admit there is an issue…. After all, it was his government that used the “hobbit” as cover to change the laws, making individual workers responsible if they got hurt at work….

    I fell off badly constructed scaffold last year, and discovered the hard way just how nonexistent my rights were, and how utterly i was responsible for my own rehabilitation…

    Even down to having responsibility for deciding at which point i was fit enough to go back to work… Which was much earlier than i should have, simply because if i didn’t go back to work, i was not going to be able to eat, or pay bills, or keep the roof over my head…

    So i went back to work while still unable to pick up anything heavier than 5k….

    The irony is that, if i had aggravated my injury, i would then have been inelegible for ANY assistance whatsoever…

    This, of course, is only adding to the pressure on workers…and on it’s own, causing more misery, and hardship…

    Mayhap i’ve just answered my own question on why morrie has been silent….

  2. Allyson says:

    EPMU were paid by workers to represent health safety concerns. If they were doing a good job they can hold their head up high. If not, a refund would be in order.
    Wilkinson was right to go.

  3. bbfloyd says:

    Nice one little ally…. whatever happens, make sure you blame either the workers themselves, or anyone who tries to advocate for them….

    Do some actual research before commiting stupidity to print… Workers advocates have been emasculated as effectively as the workers themselves by the law changes this poor excuse for a government have pushed through….

    If your attention span is up to it, read my whole comment… it’s as good a starting point in the education process so obviously necessary for so many tory dittoheads who have lost touch with reality so frighteningly badly…

    Unfortunately, between a corrupted fourth estate, and a willfully ignorant, and bigoted support base, the truth is highly unlikely ever to surface in a way that would have the more principled among them withdrawing their support for this sustained attack on ordinary new zealanders…who just happen to have been born mainly in cities, and to the wrong parents…

    Thanks for the opportunity to highlight a major tory shortcoming though… It may help clarify any thinking on this extremely important issue… and remove unwanted distraction….

    The war we are being forced into is no less than the fight for our identity as new zealanders, and how we see our once great little country developing in decades to come…

    At present, we are presented with two, stark choices…

    We can capitulate to the combined weight of corporate head office, the national party, the fourth estate, and the bigotry, and ignorance of the national parties support base…

    Or we can “draw a line in the sand” and make a stand for ourselves, and our descendants… We can stand up for the way of life that gave every new zealander the chance to fulfil their potential, regardless of their family/ethnic background…..

    Time to stop treating the “fourth estate” like they have a relevant contribution to make..stop pandering to them(makes the panderer look weak, and vacillating)… make the creeps do their job properly, to the point of boycotting any, and all tv news/ popular “journalists”, and talk shows etc, unless they undertake to deal with real issues, and not the rubbish that is so obviously designed to undermine any opposite views to the ones they are paid to promote…

    Until we start treating uriah heeps like dunkin garnish, little guyon (e)spinner etc, there will never be effective, useful, public discussion on important issues that actually use reality as a yardstick… As opposed to the utter drivel that passes for journalism in this country today…

  4. insider says:

    This year there have been four workplace deaths in construction. So either Maurice Williamson is an absolute safety godsend to the 96 workers he has saved, or Raymond hasn’t got an effing clue what is going on.

    I favour the latter based on past performance

  5. bbfloyd says:

    @inner tube….. You need to read ALL the words on these, and other pages… And leave the party political posturing to those who know how….

    Earth to planet key…. “construction” isn’t the whole “workplace”…..Getting boring…….

  6. insider says:

    Floyd It must be soul destroying for you to try and defend this level of incompetance. and he gets paid what a year?

    Tell me exactly which year we have had anything close to 100 workplace deaths in any individual or combination of industries? It’s Raymond’s own words and this is his portfolio, so he must have some factual,basis, mustn’t he?

    “While Building & Construction Minister Maurice Williamson finally admits there is a problem, this Government has had four years in office, and in the meantime, we’ve had an average of 100 deaths a year”

  7. bbfloyd says:

    Don’t be silly inny….. Defend? Against what?? … Surely you’re not thinking that your facile misuse of statistics to deliberately oversimplify an irrelevant side issue, is going to “shame me into ‘fessin up”?

    You havn’t figured it out yet? no worries….take your time….I mean it,, take your time..

    Meanwhile, while we are on the subject of indefensible actions that have led to an inefficient, expensive, unfair system of workplace laws, and practices…

    Actions that effectively led to the loss of work ethics, and a dilution of work culture… The dismantling of apprenticeships was nothing short of industrial sabotage…

    Forcing ordinary average “salt of the earth”, people to become self employed contractors, whether they wanted to, or not, or whether they were competent, or not…

    Just two examples of actions that are indefensible….

    So, as the groundwork was laid by the last raiding party, this party has filled in the gaps… making workers financially, and legally, impotent, with regard to conditions of work, and remuneration…

    We now have an unbalanced health/safety outcome…. the level of attempted bureaucratic oversight suggest an over reaction to a situation that wiser heads knew would come about…. employers cutting corners “because they could”,..

    And partly, or improperly trained workers, turning building/work sites into nightmares of clutter… death traps for young players….

    Forcing workers to work to unrealistic schedules, resulting in some workers doing 55-60 hour weeks for months at a time…all on a flat rate…The beauty of this is that you can get the job done with less workers…so the pool of unemployed doesn’t shrink as fast as economic growth(recovery) occurs…An obvious action dictated by a policy of keeping unemployment high…

    Both of the last two raiding parties have pursued this policy direction…

    Being over worked, and/or under trained, quite often both, is odds on, the most likely environment that the vast majority of accidents occur…..

    People aren’t afraid of hard work… pretty much everyone who could, wants to work, and be good at what they do….

    The trades should not need a whole bureaucracy devoted to Keeping them safe”…. Good housekeeping, and awareness of risk should be an intrinsic part of work culture…

    This gets fixed properly at the “grassroots” level, or it won’t work properly, ever….even with the best will in the world…

  8. Jack Ramaka says:

    I have heard the Auckland City Council and the Government have settled half a dozen claims for Leaky Homes.

    At this rate we should have them sorted out by the year 3000.