From Question Time today, Minister for Workplace Relations and Safety Michael Woodhouse on whether tougher health and safety laws will reduce injuries:
But laws alone will not prevent the types of deaths and injuries the member describes, any more than road rules prevent death and injury on the road. What will improve our health and safety record is changes in behaviour and attitude, and that is what I am promoting.
So, how do you change behaviour? According to Woodhouse, certainly not with laws! They do nothing. Which makes you wonder why National spends so much time seeking parliamentary representation to influence them...
But oddly, this attitude only seems to apply to health and safety laws. National is very clear that tougher penalties for crime influence behaviour by reducing crime. They think higher taxes and the existence of planning laws such as the RMA influence economic behaviour. They think laws against people smuggling influence that too (in fact, here's Michael Woodhouse, just ten minutes later, saying so). But if the behaviour you seek to influence is that of employers, and the desired influence is an improvement, apparently laws are ineffective.
So, either National are hypocrites, or they believe that all New Zealand employers (and especially Peter talley, who they gave a knighthood to) are incorrigible criminals who will refuse to obey the laws of the land even if we start putting them in jail. Which is it, I wonder?