25 July 2016

Policy Update – 25 July 2016

Our fortnightly policy updates keep you up-to-date with the industry.

ACC and WorkSafe New Zealand launch the inaugural "Reducing Harm in New Zealand Workplaces Action Plan"

On 19 July ACC and WorkSafe New Zealand launched the inaugural "Reducing Harm in New Zealand Workplaces Action Plan". The Plan supports their collaborative efforts to meet the government’s target of reducing serious injuries and fatalities in the workplace by at least 25 per cent by 2020.

The Action Plan looks at how we can better support the agriculture, construction, forestry, manufacturing and health sectors to make significant improvements to keep their workers safe. The Plan also focuses on the most common causes of injury across all sectors – slips, trips and falls; working in and around vehicles; body stressing and respiratory health risks.

Never Happens? Happens emergency preparedness campaign launched

Only 25 per cent of New Zealanders describe themselves as prepared at home for an emergency, and only around 14 per cent describe themselves as fully prepared for an emergency, according to a media release from the Civil Defence Minister Nikki Kaye.

The “Never Happens? Happens” campaign aims to change this. The campaign features online videos, website and social media content and is part of a new, $2.5 million, three-year public education programme.

According to the Minister, “While New Zealanders have a strong awareness of how emergencies might affect them, this isn’t translating into the levels of preparedness we’d like to see. This campaign and the wider public education programme are all about changing Kiwis’ ‘She’ll be right’ attitude to one of ‘We’re ready!’”

Work continues to clean up New Zealand’s contaminated sites

The Government has committed $975,000 to assist in the clean up of 90,000 litres of toxic substances at the Concours Electroplaters site in Timaru’s North Street. According to Environment Minister Dr Nick Smith, “The site is potentially contaminated by heavy metals, including chromium, nickel, cyanide and asbestos, and acids and alkalis that have been improperly stored. The removal of these hazardous substances will address the immediate risk to human and environmental health".

The Government has also committed $517,000 to further restore South Canterbury’s Wainono Lagoon. “This lagoon and its associated wetlands are recognised as meeting the criteria of internationally significant wetlands, and it is important we do what we can to help restore it,” Dr Smith says. Māori Party Co-leader Marama Fox says “The lagoon is very important to Ngāi Tahu hapū of South Canterbury”. Local iwi Te Rūnanga o Waihao will lead the project, with support from Environment Canterbury.

Government seeks to attract world-leading entrepreneurial researchers to New Zealand

The Government is seeking to attract world-leading entrepreneurial researchers to New Zealand with its "Entrepreneurial Universities" initiative. The initiative will see the Government entering into 50/50 partnerships with individual universities to attract and support named researchers and their teams to work in the university for an initial period of three to five years. The Government is investing $35 million over four years for this initiative.

In the associated media release the Tertiary Education, Skills and Employment Minister Steven Joyce says “It’s a very competitive world out there. We need to keep challenging ourselves and keep adding to our hi-tech sector. Entrepreneurial Universities will strengthen our research and start-up capabilities and add to the learning opportunities for our undergraduates”.