Category: Books

Accident Compensation Act: Key Sections and Commentary Publication

Ben Thompson, Senior Associate at Hazel Armstrong Law has published Accident Compensation Act: Key Sections and Commentary

The authors’ targeted legislative analysis will assist injury prevention practitioners, employers, treatment providers and third-party administrators in gaining a practical understanding of ACC policy and practice, as well as the prevailing judicial attitudes. This authoritative guide is an indispensable resource for anyone dealing with accident compensation legislation.


  • Annotated legislation
  • Practical guidance
  • Authoritative commentary
  • Preface by Hazel Armstrong

The publication can be purchased here:

Further information is available here:

Read the review by New Zealand Law Society here

Your life for the job: New Zealand rail safety 1974-2000

Hazel Armstrong’s book Your life for the job: New Zealand Rail Safety 1974-2000 is now available.


This book, written by New Zealand’s foremost legal expert on workplace health and safety, concludes that the appalling rate of death and injury on New Zealand’s railways in the 1990s is ‘the story of de-regulation and privatisation’.

In the early 1990s new workplace health and safety legislation ‘obliged employers to take all practicable steps to prevent harm to their employees’. Your life for the job makes it clear that New Zealand Rail (NZR) was secretly exempted.

Soon afterwards, NZR was sold to a consortium of private owners which renamed it Tranz Rail, cut staff numbers and reduced spending on equipment and maintenance. Eleven of its employees were killed on the job between 1995 and 2000. This shameful record was brought to an end after the RMTU, the rail workers’ union, successfully called for an independent inquiry.

Author Hazel Armstrong points out that both the 2000 Tranz Rail inquiry and the 2012 Pike River inquiry illustrate what happens when regulators are ineffective and are captured by the employer; Parliament and the government of the day are prepared to compromise worker health and safety for some other end-game; and directors and managers turn a blind eye to hazards.

Copies of Your life for the job can be purchased from Armstrong Thompson for $20. Email to order a copy. Alternatively, you can read Hazel’s book online.

Blood on the Coal: The Origins and Future of New Zealand’s Accident Compensation Scheme

Hazel Armstrong’s book Blood on the Coal: The origins and future of New Zealand’s Accident Compensation scheme (Trade Union History Project, Wellington, 2008) traces the development of the Accident Compensation scheme. Hazel’s book also analyses the effectiveness of the current scheme and looks at possibilities for reform.

Copies of Hazel’s book can be ordered from, or an online copy can be read here.