There is absolutely no way new health and safety rules will stop school children from climbing trees, Workplace Safety Minister Michael Woodhouse says.
The new workplace regulations come into effect on Monday, with school principals saying the rules are so tough that they are banning their pupils from climbing trees.
The rules introduce a $600,000 fine for people held responsible for workplace accidents.
But Mr Woodhouse said schools that had sensible health and safety policies in place had nothing to fear.
He said principals should not be banning tree-climbing and other outdoor activities.
"I had a colleague come to see me this morning after the issue was raised, saying that when she was on the board of trustees, 10 years ago, schools were trying to cut down trees to prevent them from harm, to prevent kids from harm."
Mr Woodhouse said the issue was not a new one.