Wednesday, August 26, 2015

Window Dressing for Dummies

For a party professing one law for all, the National Party has a problem on its hands with its Health & Safety legislation.

It could be just coincidence that the really big avoidable tragedies have all been under a National government. Erebus was an orchestrated litany of lies under Muldoon. Cave Creek was systemic failure under Bolger. No one has been held accountable for the CTV building collapse and the Pike River entombment under Key.

The legislation before Parliament was a direct consequence of the Pike River disaster. Something had to be done. This is it. The public reaction so far ranges from worm farm Dune jokes and mini golf ridicule on Twitter, to secondary school principals freaking out about getting sued or thrown into jail.

Pat Walsh wasn't kidding on Morning Report when he said that schools would be looking closely at whether school camps and playgrounds were viable any longer. Too risky. Many school swimming pools are as dead as dinosaurs, yet NZers continue to drown.

Minister Woodhouse's reaction so far has been limited to passing a random greasy ball to local councils by sort-of-but-not-quite opening up Easter Sunday for trading. He's burdened local government with more things to be accountable for without funding. Calling it passing the buck would be too charitable.

I haven't read the legislation, but the biggest injustice appears to be the large Gerry-mandered hole excempting anyone with connections to the National party. You could drive a tractor through without it touching the sides. Maybe even a swamp kauri log, as long as it was longly. A rolling quad bike would have no problem.

Woodhouse is just the stunt muppet fronting it. The back office already knows what it wants. Same recipe as the Tax Property Register. The public are outraged. Nick some relevant patch from the Opposition. Water it down to homeopathic levels of utility. Add loopholes and lawyers. Done.