Labour

Archived
Release

Labour Minister Simon Bridges today released a discussion document seeking feedback on the Government’s proposals to enhance and modernise parental leave.

“One of the Government’s key priorities is to support families and children.  That’s why, as part of Budget 2014, the Government announced an overhaul of parental leave to make it available to more people, for a longer period and with more flexibility,” Mr Bridges says.  

Simon Bridges Labour
Release

Labour Minister Simon Bridges today announced the reappointment of Rosemary Monaghan as Chief of the Employment Relations Authority. 

“Rosemary Monaghan was first appointed to the position of Chief of the Employment Relations Authority in September 2013.  She will continue to lead the Authority as Chief for a further year,” Mr Bridges says. 

Simon Bridges Labour
Release

In the first five months of this year, the number of serious injuries reported in forestry has dropped by nearly half compared with last year, Labour Minister Simon Bridges says.

“This is positive news and indicates the work the whole industry – the regulator, the forestry companies, the contractors and the workers - has been doing is paying off, but this is not a time to celebrate,” Mr Bridges says.

“I remain concerned that WorkSafe New Zealand is continuing to find very serious levels of non-compliance in the industry.”

Simon Bridges Labour
Speech

I want to thank you all for the opportunity to be here today.

I know that in this room sit many of the leaders of the Adventure Activities sector.

As leaders, you will be seeking clarity from the Government on the new Adventure Activity health and safety regime and I want to give you that today. 

We have four new audit providers on board.

The new audit providers are taking bookings, and every operator is getting free support from the Government; there’s a financial incentive in place.

Simon Bridges Labour
Release

Labour Minister Simon Bridges has sent a clear message to adventure tourism operators – the resources are in place to complete audit safety checks before November and it is up to the industry to ensure it has world-class safety standards.

Mr Bridges this morning addressed the Tourism Industry Association in Wellington and reaffirmed the Government’s commitment to professionalising the adventure activities sector and lifting safety standards across the board.

Simon Bridges Labour
Release

Labour Minister Simon Bridges today released a discussion document seeking feedback on ways to strengthen the enforcement of New Zealand’s minimum employment standards to stamp out exploitation.

“Employment standards protect workers by setting out minimum employment rights and entitlements, such as minimum wage rates and annual leave,” Mr Bridges says. 

Simon Bridges Labour
Release

Labour Minister Simon Bridges today welcomed the release of the Independent Forestry Safety Review Panel’s public consultation document.

“We know that there is an unacceptable level of death and serious injury in the forestry sector, with 67 fatalities since 2000 and the highest rate of serious harm on a per worker basis,” says Mr Bridges.

“It’s important that the forestry industry has taken ownership of the issue as enduring safety solutions cannot be made by Government alone. 

Simon Bridges Labour
Release

Ministers today welcomed a report released by the Parliamentary Commissioner for the Environment on oil and gas drilling.

Environment Minister Amy Adams and Energy and Resources Minister Simon Bridges say the Commissioner’s report is a useful contribution to the discussion on how best to manage the environmental effects of onshore petroleum development, including hydraulic fracturing.

Simon Bridges Amy Adams Labour Environment Energy and Resources
Release

Labour Minister Simon Bridges today announced an improvement to Government procurement rules to ensure all potential suppliers of cleaning services operate on a fair and level playing field. 

“The change means suppliers of cleaning services will no longer be required to join and pay for membership to the industry association to contract with Government,” says Mr Bridges.

“Instead, the Government will be able to contract with all suitable suppliers of cleaning services and award contracts on the merit of tenders.

Simon Bridges Labour
Release

The Minimum Wage Order is changing to include a fortnightly minimum wage rate, Labour Minister Simon Bridges said today.

This is in response to a recent Court ruling that found a week is the longest period which salaried workers could be assessed for compliance with the Minimum Wage Act. 

Mr Bridges says the ruling does not adequately reflect current work practices, such as salaried employees on fortnightly rosters. 

Simon Bridges Labour
Release

Labour Minister Simon Bridges today announced that parental leave payments will increase from 1 July 2014.

The maximum payment for eligible employees and self-employed persons will increase from $488.17 per week to $504.10 gross per week.

The minimum parental leave payment for self-employed people will also increase from $137.50 per week to $142.50 gross per week.

“We have increased parental leave payments to reflect the 3.3 per cent increase in the average weekly wage over the past year,” says Mr Bridges.

Simon Bridges Labour
Release

Labour Minister Simon Bridges welcomes the release today of a discussion document outlining proposals for new health and safety regulations, which will help people to comply with the new health and safety legislative regime when it comes into force next year. 

“Regulations remove the guesswork about what is needed to meet duties under the law. This helps avoid unnecessary compliance costs that could arise from doing too much or too little,” Mr Bridges says.

Simon Bridges Labour
Release

The Government is spending more than $7 million over the next four years to boost the number of labour inspectors and immigration officers dealing with the Canterbury rebuild.

The money will be used to fund an additional six labour inspectors and seven immigration staff, including three compliance officers and two investigators, and will result in an extra 20 investigations of serious or high-profile cases over an initial 18-month period.

It will also deliver an employment standards audit programme for businesses associated with rebuild activity.

Michael Woodhouse Simon Bridges Labour Immigration Budget 2014
Release

As part of Budget 2014’s comprehensive package of practical measures to help families and children, the Government will spend an additional $171.8 million over four years to enhance parental leave provisions, Labour Minister Simon Bridges says.

“The Government is committed to doing its part to give children the best possible start in life and this comprehensive range of measures will help to reduce some of the stress placed on families when a new child arrives. 

Simon Bridges Labour Budget 2014
Speech

In August 2013, the Government announced the most significant reform of New Zealand’s workplace health and safety system in more than 20 years.

Our reform package ‘Working Safer – a blueprint for health and safety at work’ marks a turning point in New Zealand’s approach to safety at work. 

It provides us with a valuable opportunity to create and deliver a world class health and safety system.

Simon Bridges Labour
Release

Workers’ Memorial Day tomorrow is a time to remember those who have been killed or injured at work, their families and friends, and also take stock of the progress being made to ensure workers return home safe each day, says Labour Minister Simon Bridges.  

“We know that too many New Zealanders are killed or harmed at work, which is why this Government is committed to implementing the major step change in workplace health and safety that we need to see.  

Simon Bridges Labour
Speech

Mr Speaker, I move that the Employment Relations Amendment Bill be now read a second time.  I thank the members of the Transport and Industrial Relations Committee, and particularly its chair David Bennett, for their thorough consideration of this Bill.

Mr Speaker, this Bill implements the Government’s policies aimed at increasing flexibility and fairness in our employment relations framework.

Simon Bridges Labour
Speech

I move that the Health and Safety Reform Bill be now read a first time.  I nominate the Transport and Industrial Relations Committee to consider the Bill.

The Government is committed to improving health and safety at work. 

This Bill represents the most significant law reform in this area in 20 years. Its main purpose is to provide for a balanced framework to secure the health and safety of workers and workplaces.

The new law will play a major role in helping us meet our target of reducing New Zealand’s workplace death toll by 25 per cent by 2020.

Simon Bridges Labour
Release

DOC today became the first Government department to formally join the Business Leaders’ Health and Safety Forum, Conservation Minister Dr Nick Smith and Labour Minister Simon Bridges announced.

“I welcome this commitment by the Department’s Director-General Lou Sanson to make health and safety a core focus of the DOC ethos. DOC does dangerous work in remote and hostile parts of New Zealand that requires an extra focus to keep its workforce safe,” Dr Smith says.

Simon Bridges Nick Smith Labour Conservation
Release

The biggest health and safety reforms in 20 years are today one step closer with the introduction of the Health and Safety Reform Bill says Labour Minister Simon Bridges. 

“The Bill is part of the Government’s Working Safer reform package which will substantially improve workplace health and safety across all sectors in New Zealand — especially in high risk areas like forestry.” 

Simon Bridges Labour
Release

Labour Minister Simon Bridges today announced the adult minimum wage is to rise to $14.25 an hour.

The current adult minimum wage rate is $13.75 an hour.

The Starting-Out and training minimum wages will increase from $11 an hour to $11.40 an hour, which is 80 per cent of the adult minimum wage.

“Setting these wage rates represents a careful balance between protecting low paid workers and ensuring jobs are not lost,” says Mr Bridges.

Simon Bridges Labour
Release

Labour Minister Simon Bridges today welcomed the announcement of an industry-led inquiry into forestry safety, which will commence next month.

“I am pleased the forestry industry has taken ownership of the inquiry as enduring safety solutions in our forests cannot be made by government enforcement alone,” Mr Bridges says.

“The number of workplace deaths and injuries in forestry is too high and any action to reduce that toll deserves support.

Simon Bridges Labour
Release

Economic Development Minister Steven Joyce and Labour Minister Simon Bridges today welcomed the completion of the major policy programme to respond to the recommendations of the Royal Commission on the Pike River Coal Mine Tragedy.

“With the completion of this critically important work, the Government has met the commitment we made in December 2012 to respond to all the Commission’s recommendations by the end of this year,” says Mr Joyce.

Simon Bridges Steven Joyce Labour Economic Development
Release

A new era in workplace health and safety begins today with the opening of WorkSafe NZ, the new stand-alone Crown regulator dedicated to health and safety says Labour Minister Simon Bridges.

“Too many people are killed or seriously injured in our workplaces and the injury rate must come down,” says Mr Bridges.

“WorkSafe NZ has high targets and will work with other Government agencies, businesses, and workers to reduce the fatalities, serious injuries and illnesses caused in the workplace.”

Simon Bridges Labour