18 Aug 2015

Labour accuses Govt of running scared

1:08 pm on 18 August 2015

The Labour Party claims the Government is running scared over its controversial Health and Safety Bill.

Caucus run 21/07/15

Workplace Safety Minister Michael Woodhouse says the delay is not a tactical move by the Government. Photo: RNZ / Alexander Robertson

The Government is delaying the committee stages of the bill. It was due to be debated clause-by-clause in Parliament tonight, but the Workplace Safety Minister said he had to sort out some technical issues with minor parties.

Labour leader Andrew Little said the Government did not want to face the families of workers who have been killed on the job who were going to be in Parliament tonight to hear the committee stages.

Mr Little said the bill had been in the House for more than a year. He claimed the Government was divided internally and running scared from those most affected by health and safety law.

"If John Key doesn't have the numbers he should front up and say so. Yet another delay shows either National's callous disregard for public safety or that they are completely disorganised," Mr Little said.

But Workplace Safety Minister Michael Woodhouse said the delay was not a tactical move to shore up support for the bill and take the wind out of the opposition's sail.

"There were a couple of things that I had to get done so that we have full support of minor parties."

"There was one question about the timeframe for private prosecutions. The other about engagement in the development of work groups. But as I say they're fairly technical matters and we've got them addressed."

Mr Woodhouse said the bill should now be debated clause by clause tomorrow night.