Forestry Worker Cut From Reparation

26 March 2015

Two and a half years after a nearly fatal accident, one forestry worker is beginning to wonder if he’ll ever receive his reparation. Gisborne man Tau Henare was almost killed on the job and has not received any of the $40,000 he should have been paid by his employer – and now he fears the company is in no state to pay him a cent.

Henare was was working alone and unsupervised in an East Coast forest in September 2012 when poor communication by his supervisor led to a one-tonne log becoming dislodged and tumbling down the hill – hitting Henare and breaking an arm and a leg. Weeks in hospital and multiple surgeries later, he worked out alive – but still unaided. In 2015 his situation has changed little.

In May 2014 HarvestPro NZ Ltd was prosecuted by the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment, and was found guilty of failing to take all practicable steps to ensure Henare was safe at work. The court fined HarvestPro NZ $80,000 and ordered to pay reparation to Henare of $40,000.

In the meantime the company has not paid either the fine or the reparation. Earlier this month the company was ordered to pay costs of $24,506. With the firm in financial difficulty, Henare is wondering if he’ll ever get paid.

“That money definitely would have been useful. I really could have used it last year. I’m not too sure what they’re up to. I wasn’t too impressed when they appealed the decision.” He said he had only recently been able to return to the workforce, and had found some work beekeeping. “I don’t think my body will ever be 100 per cent again. But, really, I was very lucky.”

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