11 Nov 2014

Workers need to feel 'safe' to speak out

6:53 am on 11 November 2014

The owner of a Maori forestry company says a culture change in the industry is needed to ensure that tangata whenua feel supported to speak up when their safety is at stake.

The general manager of Kajavala Forestry said though Maori make up a high proportion of the forestry workforce, their voice must be heard more.

Jacob Kajavala said recommendations from the Independent Forestry Safety Review are greatly needed, including developing more worker participation and representation when making improvements to safety.

He said rather than talking about the contractors and their workers, industry leaders would now start talking with them.

Mr Kajavala said Maori forestry workers' opinions have not been actively sought - but they should be as, culturally, tangata whenua can often be shy about expressing them.

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