Red Alert

Posts Tagged ‘williamson’

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.



Maurice’s attempt at humour

Posted by on May 15th, 2009

As Parliament went into urgency on Wednesday night I missed out on getting to the Wellington Gold Awards – the premier business awards for the region. By all accounts it was a great night, and a huge congratulations to all the winners, particularly Park Road Post who took out the overall award.

I had heard some comments about an extraordinary speech given by Maurice Williamson, but until now had not been able to get details. Helpfully the Dominion Post Diary column today has them. The diary item (can’t find it on-line) is repeated in full below.

John Key’s ministers seem to be unable to grasp the concept of political correctness. Wellington premier business event the Gold Awards was subjected to a tawdry blurt from Statistics Minister Maurice Williamson, who, when asked to present an award, instead awarded himself a presentation. Starting out with a Mother’s Day tribute suggesting Mr Key frequently referred to his team using the term mother-something or other, the minister then attempted a “joke” about disabled people stealing non-disabled carparks. Apparently believing he was on a roll, he donned his customs minister hat and promised Wellington Mayor Kerry Prendergast a cavity search next time she travelled overseas for forgetting to mention his name in her address to the awards. With Mr Key reportedly seething in the front row, one wonders how a transition from being statistics minister to being a statistic might go.

Oh dear.