The Government's announcement of more mine inspectors shows that action to improve worker safety can happen prior to the report of the Pike River Royal Commission, West Coast based MP Green Party MP Kevin Hague said today.
The Government today announced it was establishing a High Hazard Unit to improve the Department of Labour's capabilities in the mining and petroleum industries.
"The Minister of Labour has continually ruled out improvements to mine safety before the Pike River Royal Commission reported back. I am glad for mine workers that she has changed her position," said Mr Hague.
"I have made the Minister aware of serious on-going risks in underground mining, and the Royal Commission heard even more of the same. It would have been irresponsible for her not to act.
"The Government didn't need to wait for the Royal Commission to make changes to improve mine safety.
"Today's announcements are a good start, provided that the new inspectors have sufficient power and resourcing.
"I am pleased about this back-down because it provides some hope of reducing unnecessary risks.
"Through the 90s, the National Government decimated mine safety. Putting some additional resources back into this sector is the minimum it needs to do to improve mine safety in New Zealand.
"Today's moves are welcome but more still needs to happen to increase workers in underground mining's safety," said Mr Hague.