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Proposed law change could have big impact on volunteer-run clubs

Home Forums General Discussion News Proposed law change could have big impact on volunteer-run clubs

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  • #8689
    • Town/City: Tauranga
    • Bike: Suzuki DR650 ADV, BMW R100GS
    • Rank: Round the World Adventure Globetrotter

    From: http://www.stuff.co.nz/southland-times/news/69056183/proposed-law-change-could-have-big-impact-on-volunteerrun-clubs

    This will be something to watch as if the below is correct and the current draft is passed into law it would make anyone organising a group ride legally liable for anything that goes wrong on the ride.

    A South Otago car club has warned volunteer-run organisations they may soon be liable for substantial fines and even imprisonment if the Government’s new Health & Safety Reform Bill passes in its present form.

    South Otago Vintage Car Club secretary Mel Tapp became aware of the issue after receiving a recent New Zealand Federation of Motor Clubs circular detailing the proposed changes to health and safety regulations, and their potential consequences.

    In that circular, issued by federation representatives Roy Hughes and Tony Bartlett, it states, “[a club or club member could be] subject to court action and fines if one of its members organises, coordinates or oversees the efforts of another member while both are acting voluntarily … and something goes amiss…”

    The change had arisen due to an amendment in the legislation – intended to broaden responsibility for health and safety and reduce “workplace” injury and death figures by 25 per cent by 2020 – redefining “employer” as “Person Conducting a Business or Undertaking” (PCBU), Tapp said.

    In case of accident leading to injury or death, that meant volunteer-run organisations would now be defined as PCBUs under most circumstances, and therefore liable for fines of up to $600,000 and five years’ imprisonment.

    That was “madness”, Tapp said.

    “I don’t think people realise this is taking place under their noses as we speak. The legislation has been based on a similar Australian bill, which, since it was introduced, has caused many small clubs to close. People have just thrown up their hands and given up. It’s just so stupid.”

    Clutha-Southland National MP Todd Barclay said the bill was yet to be finalised, with further work taking place until July 24.

    “The Health and Safety Reform Bill is the biggest shake-up of health and safety laws in more than 20 years. The cross-party Transport and Industrial Committee [will be kicking] the tyres and making sure the proposals are sensible, workable, and will make a real difference to improve New Zealand’s unacceptable safety record,” Barclay said.

    He acknowledged aspects of the bill might need to be altered before it was passed by Parliament.

    “There has been some healthy debate over the proposed bill and that’s because we want to ensure we get it right. It’s the job of MPs to represent the views and concerns of their communities.

    “It’s important to take the time to ensure it lands in the right place. We need to lift safety in the workplace while ensuring any changes are workable and not overly onerous on small businesses and employers.”

    Tapp encouraged members of other volunteer-run organisations to voice their concerns before the legislation was finalised.

    “Ask your other members if they’re aware this is happening, talk to other clubs, and let your MP know you want to see volunteers and voluntary organisations excluded from the bill,” he said.

    Gordon James
    • Town/City: Auckland
    • Bike: BMW F800 GS; KTM 525 EXC
    • Rank: 400cc Rider

    We’ll be compelled to invent the self-organizing ride.

    • Bike: 2015 Triumph Scrambler, 1973 XL250, 1974 OSSA Explorer, 2003 Adventurised Royal Enfield, others
    • Rank: 50cc Rider

    Well, IMO it’s yet another ignorant beat-up of the HSE reforms, along the same lines as similar bollix about the present HSE legislation.

    A voluntary sports organization and its volunteers are not liable under the present legislation for penalties when another person sustains injury; no more than a farmer is liable to prosecution if a person is injured while going across the farm in an activity unrelated to employment on the farm.

    It is seriously unlikely that this will change, either.

    Comparisons with other countries are pointless, for the simple reason that NZ’s ACC legislation takes the place of many aspects of overseas HSE legislation.

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