The introduction of a corporate manslaughter law to deal with work-related deaths in New Zealand is "unlikely", says Prime Minister John Key.

He made the statement while being questioned about the state of the nation's forestry industry, after a forestry worker died on Friday, bringing this year's death toll to nine.

Mr Key told 3News this morning that while it was "not impossible" to conceive of bringing such a law into legislation, he did not think it likely.

"Now let's go and see, if people want to present a stronger argument here that's always possible, you need to follow that up with the Justice Minister and the Attorney-General," he said.


"But certainly the feedback I've had in terms of how it's worked in the UK was it wasn't very effective."

Mr Key said nine deaths in the forestry industry this year was "nine deaths too many" and the "industry has to change".

"Regrettably it's somewhat consistent with numbers that we've seen in terms of deaths that have taken place in our industry for a very long period of time," he said.

"So the Government is forcing change, both through a new regulator, through the work that we did in work place safety, in terms of audits that are happening at every forestry outlet in New Zealand, and we've conducted about 150 of those and actually stopped 14 operations, I think, operating in the short term until they've fixed their problems, we've written to every forestry owner.

"So there's a series of different actions that the Government is taking to try and make sure that workers in the industry are safe."

27 Nov, 2013 7:21am
2 minutes to read