The Government has confirmed plans to insert corporate manslaughter provisions into the health and safety reform law currently before Parliament.
The measure allowing firms to be prosecuted and fined for workplace deaths has been under consideration since the Pike River mine tragedy. Labour leader Andrew Little has been a strong supporter, but the Government has dragged its feet until now.
Justice Minister Amy Adams on Tuesday said the most appropriate place for the provision, which would address the concerns of those who lost loved ones to the actions of corporates, was in the health and safety law.
She had asked Workplace Relations Minister Michael Woodhouse to add the provision, and he had said he would look at it.
“There’s already a strong sanctions regime, but I’m certainly open to having a look at the suggestion around corporate manslaughter,” Woodhouse said.
There may be just cause to have such a law, but I fear it may become very politicised with calls for employers to be found guilty of manslaughter in relation to all workplace related deaths. The test should be gross negligence at a minimum.