Strong support in New Zealand for firefighter work cancer law

The New Zealand firefighters’ union (NZPFU) has said it has received ‘strong support’ in its campaign for official no-fault compensation for firefighters struck by a range of cancers. The union was speaking out after it enlisted the help of a Canadian union legal expert to promote the case for ‘presumptive’ legislation, where named cancers are presumed to be caused by work as a firefighter and compensated by the country’s no-fault Accident Compensation Corporation (ACC).

The New Zealand union praised the assistance it has received from Winnipeg Firefighters Union (UFFW) president Alex Forrest, a firefighter and lawyer and expert on firefighters’ cancer. NFPFU said with his help New Zealand was “well on the way to achieving cross-party support for presumptive legislation to recognise firefighters’ occupational cancers.”

The move would require a simple amendment of the compensation law to recognise an inclusive list of firefighters’ cancers as qualifying for payouts. To coincide with the Canadian expert’s visit, the union organised a presentation to MPs, who NZPFU said “had great questions and all left supportive of our campaign,” followed by a parliamentary lobby.

Presumptive cancer lists in North America cover compensation for brain, bladder, ureter, kidney, colorectal, oesophageal, breast, testicular, prostate, lung, skin, leukaemia, non-Hodgkin lymphoma and multiple myeloma.

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