The Nats now know what it's like to experience being the butt of the political joke. It'd be nice if they could say the health and safety debacle wasn't their fault, but it was.

There was something of a rebellion in the Tory's ranks over the new law, which flowed on from the poor safety record at the Pike River mine. The law was to give the families of the 29 miners who perished there some peace of mind, that needless work accidents could be prevented.

But it's come down to the definition of what workplace is high risk, and what isn't, and that's lead to howls from the Beehive's opponents that they're looking after the rural rump.

The risk rating's part of an Aussie/Kiwi standard and it would seem the general farm here isn't considered high risk whereas the likes of worm farming is. It's true there are deadly worms on our planet but ours are benign, and chances of an injury accident because of them would have to be remote, although sliding through a cluster of them could be fraught.


Also in the fraught, high risk category of farming is pig, where a grunt is worse than the bite, goat where billy can be a little gruff at times, and rabbit, which are more dangerous to themselves, particularly when caught in a headlight glare.

And that's what the minister in charge of the new law, Michael Woodhouse was when he was asked whether worm farming was more dangerous than sheep or dairy, where quad bikes are commonly used during roundup time.

Woodhouse was also asked whether he thought mini golf was a hazardous work environment. He didn't, but the legislation says it is.

The trouble with this new law is that it includes stuff that the draftsmen, those who beaver away in the bowels of Parliament coming up with the legalise to cover the cause, didn't think about excluding the bleedingly obvious. And the Beehive itself isn't off the hook, they should have removed the law's meaningless, embarrassing bits before they introduced it.

But before nanny state Labour crows too much about cock-ups, it should reflect on its final months in office when it came up with new building codes, reducing the water flow of showers and phasing out conventional lights bulbs for energy efficient ones.

Not surprisingly, the Nats sacked the nanny!