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Compliance, Regulation and Policy

Refers to the framework and measures put in place to ensure adherence to safety standards, enforce regulations, and establish government policies. It encompasses the practices and guidelines aimed at maintaining a safe working environment, promoting worker well-being, and upholding industry standards. Compliance involves following prescribed rules, regulations, and protocols to ensure the industry operates responsibly and minimises risks. Regulation refers to the oversight and enforcement carried out by regulatory bodies to ensure industry compliance. Policy refers to the government's guidelines and support for the industry, including visa processes, training requirements, and safety regulations. Together, compliance, regulation, and policy play a crucial role in safeguarding safety standards and promoting responsible practices within the access trades industry.


Sector leaders have expressed growing concerns over the lack of effective oversight and regulatory inspections within the industry. These concerns highlight potential risks to safety standards and compliance measures, and the urgent need for regulatory bodies and the government to step up their efforts.

A central point of contention raised by industry leaders is the startling absence of inspections by New Zealand's regulatory body, Worksafe, in specific regions. With some areas having gone without an inspection for years, industry experts are sounding the alarm, as the access trades industry involves high-risk operations where safety should be paramount. This lack of regulatory oversight creates a worrying environment where some operators may be tempted to cut corners on essential training and compliance measures.

"Frankly speaking, the absence of Worksafe's inspections in certain areas is alarming. For an industry like ours, where safety is paramount, this lack of regulatory oversight might tempt some operators to skimp on training and compliance.“

The consequences of skimping on training and compliance within the access trades industry are twofold. Not only does it jeopardise the safety of workers, but it also compromises the quality of work being carried out. To ensure a safe and responsible industry, industry leaders emphasise the critical need for robust regulatory oversight that enforces stringent safety protocols, maintains high standards of training, and ensures compliance with safety regulations.

Another pressing concern voiced by industry leaders relates to government policies and support. "One of the major setbacks is the sluggish visa processing times for skilled migrant workers. We’re in a race against time, and Australia is taking the lead. We need the government to step up its game and recognise the importance of attracting global talent.“ Participants expressed apprehension regarding the government's level of understanding and support for the specific needs of the Access trades Sector. Of particular concern is the lengthy visa processing times for skilled migrant workers compared to Australia, which has created a talent drain from New Zealand. The prolonged visa processing times, averaging around 6 to 8 weeks, contrasted with Australia's swift 7-day processing, have prompted skilled workers to choose opportunities across the Tasman Sea. Industry leaders urge the government to recognise the significance of attracting skilled workers and take swift action to streamline visa processes.

Furthermore, the forum shed light on the importance of health and safety practices within the sector. Industry leaders identified several critical challenges that must be addressed. Inadequate resources, non-compliant equipment, and administrative issues affecting apprentices' progression emerged as key concerns. To mitigate these challenges, continuous training and updating of knowledge and skills were highlighted as essential. Industry professionals stressed the need for trainers to stay up to date with the latest safety regulations, industry best practices, and technological advancements to ensure a safe working environment.

Employer accountability was also a prominent issue raised during the forum. Instances were shared where employers failed to release workers for training, resulting in apprentices missing crucial blocks of instruction. This lack of employer accountability not only hampers apprentices' progression but also incurs financial implications, such as extended apprenticeship fees. Industry leaders assert that employers must take greater responsibility for supporting apprentices' training and development to maintain a skilled and competent workforce.

The issues brought to the forefront highlight the urgent need for effective regulatory oversight, improved government support, and adherence to safety standards within New Zealand's access trades industry. Stakeholders are urging regulatory bodies like Worksafe and the government to take immediate action to address these concerns and ensure a safe and responsible industry that upholds high training standards, compliance measures, and worker well-being. Failure to act promptly could perpetuate risks to worker safety and compromise the industry's integrity.

  • Lack of Regulatory Oversight

  • Government Policies and Support

  • Health and Safety.

  • Employer Accountability

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