Did anyone notice farming deaths almost doubled this year?

The agriculture sector is failing in its health and safety responsibilities.

The Otago Daily Times reported on a recent farm death in Waitaki. Quote.?

The death of a 21-year-old man who became stuck in a hay baler on a farm at Five Forks yesterday was the fifth on a rural property in the last six months.?End of quote.

We are not doing well nationally either. Quote.?

A Worksafe spokeswoman said she could confirm the man died after becoming stuck in the hay baler and an investigation has started.

It was the 17th farm fatality in New Zealand this year and [the] fifth this month.?End of quote.

Let’s look at the previous year. In January Stuff reported. Quote.?

Agriculture is New Zealand’s most dangerous industry to work in, according to WorkSafe New Zealand.?

As of November 2017, nine people lost their lives working in the industry last year ? with three of those people dying as a result of quad bike accidents.?

With a total of 124 deaths in the past six years, the sector is New Zealand’s deadliest.?

WorkSafe New Zealand chief executive?Nicole Rosie said she was hopeful workplace?fatalities would decrease again in 2018.?

“We’re ahead of the harm-reduction target set by the previous government in two of the three measures, and I’m cautiously optimistic that New Zealand’s overall health and safety performance is improving,” she said.?End of quote.

WorkSafe’s optimism about agricultural fatalities overall is correct, but the opposite is true for the farming sector. There were 17 agricultural deaths in the 2018 year to date compared to nine in the previous year.??

This means that the number of farming deaths have almost doubled this year, but has anyone noticed?? We know this government has a very poor regard for what it regards as a dirty industry.

Ian Lees-Galloway is the minister in charge of workplace health and safety. Has he noticed anything amiss?

Damien O’Connor is the minister for primary industries; has he noticed? He has been noticeably silent this year on anything except the planned shakeup of dairying with the Dairy Industry Restructuring Act.

In 2012 agriculture was merged into primary industries to include fisheries, biosecurity and forestry.??This is now a huge portfolio, and the question is: has the ministry become too big? ?Has the ministry been so engrossed in Mycoplasma bovis and associated biosecurity issues that it has not had the time to give other agricultural issues like health and safety proper attention?

We have a ministry for women and another for children, but no standalone ministry for agriculture. This is craziness.?

How many wives have been beaten to death this year? How many children living in poverty have starved to death?

Our government is well overdue an overhaul to reallocate time and money to areas that are more deserving.

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