28 Aug 2015

Waikato man killed in farm accident

3:17 pm on 28 August 2015

A Waikato man has died in a farm accident this morning - just a day after Parliament passed controversial new legislation that deems farms to be low risk workplaces.

quad bike

Photo: 123RF

Critics of the legislation said today's death illustrated just how dangerous farming could be and why they opposed the Government's new law.

It means most farms are exempt from the requirement to have a health and safety representative.

The Fire Service said it was called this morning to a farm on Puketaha Road near Hamilton where a farm worker had died in a quadbike accident.

Labour Hamilton list MP Sue Moroney said the death was a tragedy for the local community.

"First of all, deepest sympathies to the man's family and friends - just devastating that here in our local Waikato community we've had another death of a worker in their workplace.

"This is the reason the Labour Party has been fighting the Government so strongly against the Government's view that farming is a low-risk industry - we've just seen far too many of these types of deaths occurring," Ms Moroney said.

Council of Trade Unions general counsel Jeff Sissons said his heart went out to the farm worker's family.

Mr Sissons said today's accident illustrated how absurd the new legislation was.

"Farming is clearly high risk and most of its forms, particularly dairy, sheep and beef farms," Mr Sissons said.

"The CTU will consider a judicial review if the Government's consultation comes out with a ruling that this is low risk."

WorkSafe New Zealand said it was making preliminary inquiries into this morning's fatality.

There have been five other quad bike fatalities this year, bringing the total quad bike deaths since 2010 to 26.

The Government's new health and safety legislation considers sheep, beef and dairy farms to be low risk, despite figures showing they are among the most dangerous workplaces in New Zealand.

However, Workplace Safety Minister Michael Woodhouse said the Government had struck the right balance between worker safety and red tape for businesses.

Get the new RNZ app

for ad-free news and current affairs