Anger at WorkSafe's decision not to prosecute a forestry company over the death of one of its workers is still being felt by family members, nearly three years after the incident.

Charles Harrison Finlay, 45, was killed in the Taumata Forest, Kinleith in July 2013 after being struck by a 50kg log.

An inquest into the Tokoroa man's death was held by coroner Wallace Bain in Rotorua today. It is one of eight forestry deaths being looked at by the coroner, with the final inquest, for David McMurtrie, being held tomorrow.

WorkSafe New Zealand investigated Mr Finlay's death and decided his employer, M&A Cross Ltd, would not be prosecuted.


Yesterday, lawyers Peter Cranney, representing the Council of Trade Unions (CTU), and Simon Meikle, representing Mr Finlay's family, questioned WorkSafe investigator Jason Gibson.

Mr Meikle asked Mr Gibson why the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment (MBIE) did not prosecute given during the private prosecution by CTU M&A Cross Ltd pleaded guilty to one charge of failure to ensure personal protective equipment was worn by an employee.

Mr Meikle had a heated exchange with Mr Gibson where he repeatedly requested an admission that WorkSafe was wrong.

"You should have charged them...You were proved wrong Mr Gibson. I want it from you to accept that MBIE's decision to not prosecute was simply wrong."

"It was not my recommendation alone not to prosecute," Mr Gibson replied. "My recommendation goes through a peer review, passes through my investigation manager's hands then gets signed off by our chief inspector. It was an organisation decision."

M&A Cross Ltd was sentenced in Rotorua District Court last October and ordered to pay $105,000 in reparation to Mr Finlay's family plus a $25,000 fine.

The CTU put forward 11 recommendations for Dr Bain, including all work stopping when a worker's location was unknown, MBIE looking at the impact of wages in dangerous industries and employers providing safety gear to workers by default.

In an emotional address to the court, Mr Finlay's wife Maryanne Butler-Finlay spoke about her family's "rollercoaster journey".

"I still feel Charles' absence deeply. He could be loud and crass but he had an infectious smile and a cheeky grin. He was a humble man and the fact that 1400 people attended his tangi showed what kind of man he was."

Outside court, Mrs Butler-Finlay said the family was still angry about WorkSafe's investigation and felt WorkSafe had turned its back on its responsibilities.

But Mrs Butler-Finlay said she felt differently than on other days since her husband's death.

"I felt calmer today. This [inquest] was the last thing - we couldn't do anymore for Charles after today.

"It has been a long road getting here and we are feeling huge relief to have gotten past this point."