Protestors must be held accountable for harm

BusinessNZ says pressure groups who undertake illegal demonstrations should be treated like any other group and held accountable for their actions.

The protest action overnight occupying an OMV gas exploration rig off the Taranaki coast was illegal, highly irresponsible and dangerous and put the lives of both the protestors and the crew of the rig at risk. BusinessNZ respects people’s right to lawfully and peacefully protest, but not to repeatedly disrupt legal businesses with dangerous and illegal protest tactics.

If any of this activity was coordinated by paid employees of NGOs, it would be likely to come under the definition of ‘work’ under the Health and Safety at Work Act. BusinessNZ Chief Executive Kirk Hope says dangerous activities such as illegally boarding a moving vessel are likely to be a breach of the Act.

“NGOs should be treated the same as any other employer in regard to health and safety if the actions of its employees breach the law,” Mr Hope said.

“We are seeing a growing trend of illegal and increasingly risky publicity stunts by NGOs against New Zealand businesses. It is a matter of if not when one of these publicity stunts goes wrong and causes serious injury or death. Those in charge of NGOs need to be held accountable for health and safety like every other Kiwi business owner is.”

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