6 Nov 2012

Govt considering corporate manslaughter charge

8:15 pm on 6 November 2012

The Government is considering whether to introduce the criminal offence of corporate manslaughter in the wake of the Pike River mine disaster.

Twenty-nine men died following a series of explosions at the West Coast mine in November 2010.

A Royal Commission into the tragedy has found that Pike River Coal directors did not ensure that health and safety was being properly managed and executive managers did not properly assess the risks workers were facing.

Families of the 29 men who died want a charge of corporate manslaughter introduced, as is the case in Britain, Canada and Australia.

Acting Minister of Labour Chris Finlayson told Parliament on Tuesday the change would enable prosecution of companies and organisations when serious management failures result in death.

"That issue is going to be looked at. There are precedents from the United Kingdom in 2008 and if we need to go down that path we will indeed."