17 Dec 2014

Fed Farmers 'gobsmacked' at quad bike fine

4:21 pm on 17 December 2014

Federated Farmers says Worksafe New Zealand is out of control for pursuing charges against a farming couple for failing to wear helmets on their quad bike.

The couple from Canvastown in Marlborough have been fined $40,000 in the Marlborough District Court.

Philip Jones and Maria Carlson were convicted of four charges relating to repeatedly not wearing helmets and not ensuring their children were wearing them.

Worksafe says they had been warned several times since 2012 about riding quad bikes without a helmet, sometimes with children on board.

Federated Farmers' Northland chairperson, Roger Ludbrooke, said he was gobsmacked by the fines and said Worksafe is out of control.

"A repeat drunk driver with three previous convictions has a maximum fine of $6000," he said.

quadbike helmets

Photo: PHOTO NZ

Worksafe manager of national programmes Francois Barton acknowledged the fine was significant but said it was better than the potential alternative of death or injury.

Mr Barton said there have been four confirmed farm fatalities related to quad bikes this year and more than 60 serious injuries.

Mr Ludbrooke said he believed not wearing helmets would not prevent many quad bike deaths.

He said Worksafe New Zealand needs to have its wings clipped for pursuing the charges.

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