Bill English back on his hobby horse about young people being unemployable

In April last year, English made few friends and gave the opposition an easy 48 hours of material for talk back an media commentary when he expressed his frustration on behalf of employers who were having trouble finding decent calibre people.

He’s had another go yesterday

Young Kiwis not passing drug tests is a problem for employers filling jobs in skills shortage areas, Prime Minister Bill English says.

While there are good initiatives across New Zealand to match locals with skills shortage jobs, he says drug issue means migrant workers are still needed.

“One of the hurdles these days is just passing the drug tests,” Mr English said on Monday. Read more »

Explaining is losing, especially as Woodhouse invokes “Chicken Lickin”

Richard Harman at Politik reports:

Workplace Safety Minister Michael Woodhouse has asked WorkSafe New Zealand to go easy on businesses and organisations which breach the country?s new employment safety law which comes into effect next week.

And to emphasise to WorkSafe staff the need to be business-friendly he has visited virtually every one of the organisation?s offices around New Zealand and talked to most staff.

Mr Woodhouse told POLITIK that Worksafe would initially prosecute only severe breaches of the legislation while it is settling in.

His move is a measure of the political sensitivity that surrounds the legislation with widespread fears that it might prove to be overly bureaucratic and restrictive on businesses and organisations affected by it.

Those fears have resonated on National?s backbench which led to the legislation being sent back to the Select Committee for a rewrite after opposition surfaced within the party, even making its way to the party?s annual conference floor.

Thus the extra care Mr Woodhouse is taking.

?It?s really important to me that business see WorkSafe as a partner not a punisher,? he says.

And he believes his campaign to change the culture within the organisation is starting to work.

?I?ve visited just about every branch and talked to just about every staff member since I became Minister 18 months ago.

?They?ve heard directly from me that they are a different organisation from the Department of Labour or Occupational Safety and Health (OSH).?

And he says that feedback he is getting from business indicates that there is a greater willingness on both sides for business and WorkSafe to work as partners to resolve safety issues.

?But he admits things can still go wrong. Read more »

Where is the clamour from the equality people over these statistics?

The left-wing like to clamour about equality. They want more spaces reserved for Maori, for women, for gays…or whatever diverse group they seek to empower, enable or promote.

But you almost never hear them clamouring about equality in cases like this.

Workplace accidents were more often related to men than women in 2014, and coming from male-dominated industries of agriculture, forestry and fisheries.

Men were behind 71 per cent of work-related injury claims accepted by ACC and 96 per cent of fatal injury claims related to men.

Age was also a factor, with the highest rates of injury claims coming from workers in the younger, 15 to 24, and older, 65 and over, age groups.

“Older workers had high rates of injury claims accepted by ACC, especially for more-serious injuries,” Michele Lloyd, customer, policy, and research manager at Statistics New Zealand, said. ? Read more »


Michael Woodhouse’s workplace safety bill feared to cut back country access

Michael Woodhouse’s OSH bill is turning into a nightmare for National.

With the back bench already nervous about the excessive nanny state provisions he cut/pasted from Australia, there is now also?unrest in the rural stronghold of National.

MPs, and senior ones at that, are being told in no uncertain terms that this stupid bill, which has more in common with something Labour or the Greens would do, is going to seriously affect their support in rural NZ. They are angry and they are getting vocal.

Outdoor enthusiasts fear they will lose access to some of New Zealand’s most outstanding recreational areas under proposed changes to health and safety laws.

Hunters, trampers and mountain bikers are worried farmers will lock their gates rather than risk liability for those crossing their land.

Getting out into the great outdoors has long been a staple part of Kiwi life. ? Read more »

My good friend John Key can still count

Much is being made of Michael Woodhouse’s bill being delayed because of caucus ructions in National. Woodhouse can’t have been pleased when told by one backbencher to sit down and shut up.

My numerous caucus sources have told me that it got quite heated, such was the stupidity of the Australian inspired legislation that Woodhouse cut/pasted and called his own.

But so what. Caucus is the place for debate…the last thing we want is for cap doffing sycophants not voicing their opinions.

A bill overhauling the health and safety laws in New Zealand in the wake of the Pike River disaster has been delayed because of concerns within the National Party caucus about its effect on small businesses and farmers.

Prime Minister John Key confirmed it had been the subject of discussion at yesterday’s caucus meeting and said he wanted to have more time to get it right.

“It’s started to get panel beaten into quite good shape.”

The Health and Safety Reform Bill was due to be reported back this week from the transport and industrial relations committee but it has now been given until July 24 to report back. ? Read more »

Stoush on inside Nat caucus

Richard Harman at Politik reports of a stoush going on inside the National caucus.

I had heard details of this, but not at the level Harman has. He’s been around a long time and his network of contacts is impressive. If he says there is a stoush on, then there is.

A political row within the National Party could ignite this week if a Select Committee does not make major modifications to a one of the Government?s most complex pieces of legislation which will impact every business, workplace and farm and even sports events ?in the country.

The Health and Safety in Employment Reform Bill is proposing a substantial overhaul of the way businesses, workplaces and farms manage health and safety issues.

It is expected to be reported back from the Transport and Industrial Relations Select Committee on Thursday.

The Bill has the potential to anger ?National’s small business and farming heartland and already its worrying some MPs.

There are reports that one ?backbencher, Maurice Williamson, has already signalled his opposition to the Bill at a National Caucus meeting.

One source even suggested he could cross the floor and vote against the Bill if it was not changed.

However though one senior Minister discounted that claim he told ?POLITIK? that ?a number of us? agree with him on his concerns about what is in the Bill.

Read more »

Of course it is turning kids into sissies

When I was a kid there was a massive slide at a nearby park, complete with concrete under it. If you fell off you were really stupid, and got hurt to teach you about that stupidity. The school adventure playground has concrete pipes, and really high towers.

We climbed trees, built bridges over creeks, dammed rivers and had a bloody good time, occasionally breaking arms or legs in the process.

These days there is rubber matting and cotton wool, plus supervisors and real sooky equipment.

We are breeding sooks.

Scottish playground consultant Juliet Robertson has been in New Zealand shaking up the playground scene.

And here I was, thinking the announcement of how much the Margaret Mahy Family Playground was actually going to cost would be the big playground story of the year.

Robertson had some sensible suggestions about how to let children play. She even managed to evoke the spirit of Political Correctness Gone Mad ? a sure way to get social media buzzing.

It got me thinking about just how unsafe playgrounds used to be. In the 1980s, when I was young, playgrounds were like the Wild West. Men with women’s haircuts pushed children on dangerous swings and everybody smoked ? everywhere. If the playground equipment didn’t kill you, the second-hand smoke probably would. ?? Read more »


Creating a nation of sooks


We are creating a nation of sooks where very soon w will have to send kids to school wrapped in bubblewrap.

A misguided health and safety culture is threatening to render children’s play meaningless, early childhood providers are to be warned.

The United Kingdom-based founder of Outdoor Play and Learning (Opal), Michael Follett, says a “policy of fear” has reshaped play to the extent that children are losing out on vital learning.

“You are taking away their ability to learn through primary, first-hand experience, which is how children actually learn.

“They need to fall over, they need to cut themselves, have bumps and bruises.

“If you over-protect, they don’t learn resilience.”

Life is full of knocks, bumps, grazes and falls. Best let kids experience that so they learn the ground is hard and corners are sharp.