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Kate Wilkinson resigns portfolio

Written By: - Date published: 4:00 pm, November 5th, 2012 - 184 comments
Categories: accountability, disaster, Mining, national/act government, workers' rights - Tags:

Stuff and NZ Herald are reporting Breaking news that Kate Wilkinson has resigned her portfolio as Minister of Labour, due to the findings in Pike River Mine report. It’s about time a government minister was held accountable for some of the destructive things that they have done and/or that have happened under their watch – things that showed they weren’t watching carefully enough, or with enough consideration of the impact on the lives of ordinary Kiwis…. and others resident here.

NZ Herald reports:

“The Pike River Mine tragedy of 19 November 2010 happened on my watch as Minister of Labour,” Ms Wilkinson said in a statement released this afternoon.

Of course, she then goes on to say that it wasn’t really her fault but she’s just being “honourable”.

“While reports from the former Department of Labour did not advise me of concerns about their ability to administer the health and safety legislation, 29 men lost their lives in this tragedy.

“I feel it is the right and honourable thing to do.”

The Government’s response to the recommendations will be released shortly.

Chris Finlayson has been appointed by Prime Minister John Key as acting Minister of Labour.

Ms Wilkinson retains her ministerial warrant and other portfolios.

On the last sentence: really?  Doesn’t this show she is not fit to be a minister?  And what of Key’s role in this?  The buck stops with him.

Tracy Watkins on Stuff reports [update: Watkins name is now no longer on the updated Stuff report]:

In a damning report into the November 2010 explosion which killed 29 workers, the Commission found Pike River’s “drive for coal production before the mine was ready created the circumstances within which the tragedy occurred”.

It is also recommending sweeping changes after finding the Department of Labour failed. The Minister of Labour, Kate Wilkinson, has resigned from the portfolio effective immediately.

The report shows that the mine was operating without adequate health and safety safeguards being provided by the Pike River company, there had been excessive methane in the mine for months while it was still operating, and the drainage and ventilation systems could not cope.

But it is not just the company that was at fault:

The Department of Labour should have prohibited the mine from operating until adequate systems were in place.

It “assumed” Pike River was complying with the law “even though there was ample evidence to the contrary”.

unfortunately, this is all too late for the victims of the disaster and their families, and must bring cold comfort to the families.  Some are now seeking a manslaughter charge:

Carole Rose, mother of Pike River victim Stuart Mudge, said that with the inquiry complete, the families were hoping someone would be held culpable and manslaughter charges laid.

“Twenty-nine men died.

“We want to see charges… somebody is responsible for this.”

Updates:  Video of John Key’s press conference today – 40 minutes.  Clearly there are several contentious issues that will require full and thorough examintaion and analysis.  Key claims Wilkinson is not to blame, but did the honourable thing in resigning.  It seems no one told her about the concerns about the mine safety.  Key said they have already implemented changes to health and safety systems and will do more.  He acknowledges it didn’t work to let the mining company be self-regulating – what a surprise!

And the news coverage of the report and Wilkinson’s resignation has gone international. It was picked up by Aussie news sites this afternoon – not surprising as there were Australians killed in the mine .  UK news sites have also started reporting it – though why The UK Telegraph  uses the spelling “Labor” is beyond me?  Wall Street Journal focuses on safety failures.

Video and report of the responses of some family members and their lawyer.

Video of Shearer’s response (7 mins): Need to improve the systems with a stronger regulatory system;  if the Labour government is found to have been at fault during their period in office, Labour will accept responsibility.

ABC (Aussie) video, print and audio reports:

The mother of Australian victim Joshua Ufer told the ABC she was pleased with the report’s recommendations to strengthen health and safety regimes in New Zealand.

Mr Ufer was 25 years old and left behind a partner and an unborn child.

His mother, Joanne, says she hopes the police investigation will result in criminal charges.

Very full and critical report from ABC News (Aussie) – a good recommendation for public service broadcasting!  As well as being critical of the company and DoL, the journalist also blames governments (past and present) for deregulation ideology.

184 comments on “Kate Wilkinson resigns portfolio”

  1. Pete 1

    So when a minister resigns, are they still able to answer questions in the House in respect of their time in office? I imagine there’ll be a snap debate tomorrow too.

    • Lightly 1.1

      no, the current minister answers questions about their portfolio, no matter whether they were minister at the time or not…. it’s a nice way to frustrate questions because the new minister won’t know anything about what Wilkinson knew.

  2. Tom Gould 2

    Pathetic, she resigns her portfolio, but stays in Cabinet with all the perks. Rubbish. This what passes for accountability on Planet Key.

    • Matthew Hooton 2.1

      i agree.
      if someone resigns on a point of principle, they should go to the backbench

      • Jim Nald 2.1.1

        ?John Banks & John Key on being veracity-challenged:
        “I feel it is the right and honourable thing to do [ie to resign].”

        ?John Key following GSCB cock-up:
        “I feel it is the right and honourable thing to do [ie to resign].”

        ?Paula Bennett on resigning following MSD fuck-up:
        “I feel it is the right and honourable thing to do [ie to resign].”

        And go to the backbench?

        Yeah right.

        The buck stops with them?
        Quite frankly, they keep on troughing and banking the bucks.

        • Matthew Hooton 2.1.1.1

          I don’t any of those examples are comparable with this one.

          • Colonial Viper 2.1.1.1.1

            i.e. there must be more deaths before we can expect further resignations or accountability.

            • Matthew Hooton 2.1.1.1.1.1

              no one died as a result of the matters banks, key and bennett have recently been criticised for. i don’t think those situations are comparable. you need to make the case (I am sure you can) for their resignations without relying on this precedent

              • Colonial Viper

                thats what I said: don’t expect accountability from this Government until there are more deaths.

                • Matthew Hooton

                  i think there should be a greater degree of accountability when 29 workers are killed at work than when, for example, a dept stuffs up and causes a security breach with its local office computer kiosks. you seem to be arguing the situations are comparable.

                  • Jim Nald

                    hah, you should try a greater range of words like this is an outlier, a blip, one-off, exceptional. oh, and not comparable.

                    • Colonial Viper

                      Man, the National spin team need you mate!

                    • Jim Nald

                      I won’t pretend they need me.

                      These are old tricks. Look up some quotes from Stephen Joyce’s and Gerry Brownlie’s .

                      Anyhoo, once upon a time, I was in there during the awful, disgraceful Shipoffoolery Administration.

                  • felix

                    Hey Hooton, how do you know no-one is resigning over those other matters?

                    Took Wilkinson two years.

                  • McFlock

                    Hmmm.
                         
                    So if a deranged ex-spouse used the breach to stalk their ex or the kids and then done the stabby mcstab, Bennett should resign? But if by luck that hasn’t been the case, she’s competent to keep the job?        
                         
                    And the GCSB can just completely ignore laws designed to protect our rights and freedom, but as long as nobody dies the minister who denies knowing anything about their own department is still competent? Where do you stand on a little bit of torture? 

              • Dr Terry

                Don’t kid yourself MH. Deaths cannot be counted only in a physical sense. What these Ministers have done is kill the spirits, psyches, souls of swathes of people. Oh, right, I bet you want to avoid comparisons! Anything to make yourself feel better.

          • Jim Nald 2.1.1.1.2

            You would say that, wouldn’t you.

          • Wychbych 2.1.1.1.3

            Actually, I believe they are. They raise the same constitutional problems, their departments (Key – GCSB; Bennett – MSD) both failed abysmally. Even though nobody died through the WINZ breach, or our spies spying on NZ citizens, our confidence and faith are dead, aren’t they? I know mine are.

            They ought to resign, get their fat heads out of the trough, and move the fuck on.

        • Jim Nald 2.1.1.2

          typo. GCSB.

      • Tim 2.1.2

        Arr well Meth Yootin……….Narn doid. sats orl roit then aye. All good, moving on, itchim smetchim goan forwid.
        You really are a pathetic creature at times aye!.
        Despite the Catholic Guuuurls willingness to give you as much leeway ez possbull, reign it in a bit (for your sake). Not only do the hissy fits make you look like the worst of a stereotuppicle woose being bitchy, it makes your spin look entirely unconvincing.

        Ekshly…..NO……… I take all that back. Please keep it up!
        At least this week there wasn;t the prestense of an opposition “from the left” in the form of a Paganini whose just struggled to make The Terrace (no doubt in an SUV or similar she can hardly handle afta dropping the kuds off).

        What happened to this country?

    • infused 2.2

      Tito anyone?

  3. Te Reo Putake 3

    “And what of Key’s role in this? The buck stops with him.”

    Dunno. I don’t recall. You would say that. Dunno. Show me the tape. I was out of the country. I get a lot of briefings. Dunno. I crack a lot of jokes. Show me one dead miner and I’ll find you one who says different. Dunno. Helen Clark. Dunno.

  4. vto 4

    Good for her in accepting her role and responsibility in the 29 deaths. The only nat with some backbone and moral fortitude.

    But, given that admission of spectacular and deadly failure, how come she is still in charge of other Ministries?

    • Anne 4.1

      Good for her in accepting her role and responsibility in the 29 deaths. The only nat with some backbone and moral fortitude.

      Agree with vto. She might be on the wrong (from our point of view) side of the political fence but she is a more honourable person than any of her female ministerial counterparts. Have thought that for some time now.

      And it often takes a woman to have reasonably good insight into another woman.

    • Dr Terry 4.2

      vto – you really think she had any choice? What bloody backbone?

    • Wychbych 4.3

      Because she’s a gutless, ratty bitch that’s deserting the ship. It’s not an ‘honourable’ thing this deluded fuckwit is doing. She’s washing her hands of it all. Getting out before any MORE ordure can be heaped on her head/department.

      Will she still keep her other portfolios, her ministerial salary and all the other perks? It’s an empty gesture.

      • felix 4.3.1

        I agree it’s an empty gesture, and for all we know it may be one forced upon her by Key – he certainly stumbled and fluffed his lines when he got to the part of the script about it being her decision – but calling her a bitch over and over probably isn’t the best way to hold her to account.

        • Colonial Viper 4.3.1.1

          Wilkonson is incompetent, and will no doubt be relieved that she doesn’t have to deal with the release of the report.

          But yeah, she’s not the target here. Key is.

          And he will have brought Finlayson onboard to deal to the issues raised properly.

          The difficulty for Key is, Finlayson absolutely hates being in the media spotlight. But he won’t have a choice now.

  5. Tom Gould 5

    And while they are in resignation mode, when will Key resign for breaking his promise to get the men out?

  6. onsos 6

    I’m no fan of Wilkinson, but credit where credit is due: she resigned. She has done the honourable thing.

    • PlanetOrphan 6.1

      Nup, She’s walking away

    • Jim Nald 6.2

      She, John Key and their PR in the media should neither overplay the shame nor honour.

      My inside sources (thanks for inspiring that phraseology, Duncan Garner) indicate she has been looking to take a welcome break from the portfolio. This is Natz clever way of getting another nasty face (rejuvenating would be too noble a word) into the portfolio. And an opportunity to bring a new one into cabinet, thanks to taxpayers’ footing the bill for cabinet welfarism.

      It is a variation on ‘disaster capitalism’ .. call it what you will, eg ‘disaster cabinet incompetence”.

    • Dr Terry 6.3

      I say again, she did the ONLY thing.

  7. muzza 7

    What noise does a scape-goat make.

    Not that Im disappointed she’s being used as one!

    • PlanetOrphan 7.1

      So who’s gonna prosecute Pike River now M8 ?

      It’s stall tactics while DunnoKeyo comes up with a “sideways” plan ……

    • Aye it has been calculated that this is the absolute minimum that they should do.  Wilkinson is a scapegoat.  Any less than this and there would be hell to pay.  As it is I trust there will still be hell to pay.

      • Draco T Bastard 7.2.1

        Aye it has been calculated that this is the absolute minimum that they should do.

        Yep, her electorate win was far too close for National for her to actually resign as an MP. That would have initiated a by-election and it’s entirely possible that Labour would win which would stop asset sales cold if not bring down the government.

        As it is I trust there will still be hell to pay.

        I think people are going to have to think it over for a bit before they realise just how manipulating National was with this. National must have had the report for a few days before its official release and the resignation has come almost immediately on the release and so it becomes obvious that they’re hoping that the two happening at the same time will distract people from what should happen.

        • Jim Nald 7.2.1.1

          Indeed. This is straight out of the PR playbook.
          Now, where is some real media questioning and probing to shake out the batshit (oh, Matthew Hooton, don’t bother to apply for the job).

        • karol 7.2.1.2

          I think people are going to have to think it over for a bit before they realise just how manipulating National was with this.
           
          Excellent point, DTB.
           
          And I’m sure tomorrow one of the authors here will provide a more considered analysis of the significance of this.  Mine was written pretty quickly, immediately after reading the first two reports.

  8. NickS 8

    One idiot down, too damn many left though.

    And frankly, Wilkinson should quit politics completely as she’s shown once more her complete incompetence to hold a position of any political responsibility.

  9. Bryan 9

    This situation evolved over the last 20 years, during almost half of which we had a Labour Government. Wilkinson’s predecessors as Minister should also accept responsibility.

    • Colonial Viper 9.1

      This is fair comment as well. The human price of hands-off neoliberal deregulation and the oxymoronic “self-regulation.

    • Te Reo Putake 9.2

      What a weird comment, Bryan. Pike River has not been operating for 20 years, just a third of that, and the men died under the careless watch of a pro-business, pro-mining and anti-health and safety government. But, nah, it’s Helen Clark’s fault on Planet Key.

      And CV, do try and think before patting the trolls on the back.

      • Colonial Viper 9.2.1

        When exactly was the mine approved to begin production, TRP?

        • Te Reo Putake 9.2.1.1

          In 2009, from memory. Maybe 2010. For the first few years they were ‘approved’ only for the process of building the shaft. They went to production early, as the report notes, as a way of generating income.

          Is what you are struggling to articulate that somehow you think it’s Labour’s fault? If so, you should know that in the last year of the Clark Government they were moving to tighten up safety in mining and had even mooted bringing back check inspectors, a move recommended in today’s report, (which appears to have just been rejected by Key a few minutes ago).

          If you want to promote the right’s line that this is somehow Labour’s fault, why don’t you shoot over to KB and WO, where you’ll find plenty of support for that particular weak spin.

          • Colonial Viper 9.2.1.1.1

            Brownlee officially opened the mine for production Q4 2008.

            Which means that final approvals, audits and sign offs happened early 2008.

            Who was in power then?

    • Matthew Hooton 9.3

      Yes, of course Labour was in power pretty much throughout this mine’s development, and it was Labour who approved it etc. But Labour has been out of office for 4 years now and there is no way the people who were ministers in the previous government can be accountable (no idea where they all are now) so they can’t really accept responsibility the way you suggest.

      • muzza 9.3.1

        Hooten, do you think that it matters which colour flag the government has, as it relates to the outcomes, or do you have to outwardly support the democratic theatrics.

        Must be a big old laugh with what the media have to shut away from the masses eh.

        • Matthew Hooton 9.3.1.1

          don’t understand your point

          • Populuxe1 9.3.1.1.1

            That’s ok, he rarely has one

          • muzza 9.3.1.1.2

            You concurred with a post above, about a Labour lead govt having been involved also, which of course they had…

            Which lead to my question , about a point of difference, and if you thought there was one!

            Generally speaking even the more challenged on these boards could have picked up the tail of that, even pop above, in the “Labour Shirt ” would have…perhaps!

      • Jackal 9.3.2

        There is somebody else who is responsible… Gerry Brownlee. He’s the Minister who opened Pike River in 2008, and was responsible as Minister of Energy and Resources for its oversight.

        Brownlee even gave speeches about how great Pike River was. In my opinion, he’s far more responsible for undermining the inspectorate that directly led to a lack of safety at the mine… Not to mention that he also promoted the actual type of dangerous mining that largely caused the accident. Neither of these things had anything to do with Labour approving the mine in the first place, although that was pretty damn stupid as well.

        Just like Nick Smith, John Key will soon be saying Kate Wilkinson should be reappointed, and I doubt anything will be done to improve mining safety while National is in power… Therefore her resignation is largely meaningless! National don’t give a damn, this is simply a media stunt to make it look like they do.

      • Dr Terry 9.3.3

        MH – thanks for this concession! Something of a surprise!

  10. quartz 10

    This is win/win for National’s right-wing.

  11. PlanetOrphan 11

    And who would normally prosecute said company ? ……
    oh that’s right The Labour Ministry ….
    That proescution’s gonna be actioned in no time aye M8′s ?

  12. NickS 12

    For fuck’s sake:

    n response to Wilkinson’s resignation, Prime Minister John Key told a conference in Wellington her actions did not make her responsible, but the Department of Labour had to accept legal responsibility.

    So much for Ministers having any responsibility under Key….

  13. Dv 13

    How does this compare to Bennet non resignation?

  14. Draco T Bastard 14

    Her resigning as an MP could be rather interesting:

    Winning Candidate: WILKINSON, Kate (NAT)
    Majority: 642

    So we can be sure that that won’t happen.

  15. HG 15

    Labour had nine years in office and did NOTHING about improving the regulatory environment around mining, despite approving many mining proposals. In fact Chris Carter approved Pike River in 2004.

    Good on Wilkinson for resigning. The old adage for a Minister – while she isn’t directly at fault she must take responsibility.

    She stays in Cabinet because she still retains her other portfolios.

    Pete, no she cannot answer questions on it in the House as she no longer holds the warrant.

    • NickS 15.1

      :roll:

      Actually what this was, was the failure to enforce the law under Wilkinson’s tenure of the DoL, which the report made rather clear oh disingenuously illiterate one.

      But hey, why pay attention to all the facts when you can spin a pretty little lie instead to try and shift the blame?

      • HG 15.1.1

        The lack of proper enforcement by DoL did not begin the day after the election 2008 oh ideologically blinkered one. Every govt over the last 20 years or so deserves a fair share of the blame in this.

        • Jackal 15.1.1.1

          Actually Labour had formulated a number of new regulations that would have improved safety. One of the first things National did was to throw them all away. So you can correctly say that a lack of proper mining safety enforcement did start after the 2008 election.

          Wilkinson’s not going to resign (even symbolically) because of what previous Labour Ministers have done. If you think that’s why she’s resigned, you’re a crack-pot! May I suggest Kiwibog or Whaleblubber as websites more suited to your temperament HG?

          • HG 15.1.1.1.1

            Did I say that Wilkinson needed to resign because of what other minister hadn’t done? No. She needed to resign because of what this Govt hasn’t done. Previous ministers can’t resign from warrants they no longer hold. The point I was making is that this is a tragedy decades in the making.

            “May I suggest Kiwibog or Whaleblubber as websites more suited to your temperament HG?” – I didn’t realise submitters to the Standard were not entitled to disagree from time to time. I will keep future dissent to myself.

            [lprent: If it isn't a moderator then ignore, refute or dispute as required. You can even put something pointed in for a moderator to have a look at (just don't expect the results you'd like).

            Moderators tend to look at behavioural issues of the types outlined in the policy and we largely ignore the background sniping, bitching, squabbling and general moaning unless they detect a problem that will affect the site in their view.

            Just keep an eye out for our warnings because while we encourage dissent, the moderators are quite totalitarian when it comes to their time being wasted. But you probably know this already. ]

            • Colonial Viper 15.1.1.1.1.1

              I think you made some fair points…and there’s relatively few around here more Left than me… :)

            • Jackal 15.1.1.1.1.2

              HG

              Did I say that Wilkinson needed to resign because of what other minister hadn’t done?

              Not specifically… What you did write however was:

              Labour had nine years in office and did NOTHING about improving the regulatory environment around mining.

              This is patently wrong! Labour had policy to improve the regulatory environment around mining. National when they won in 2008 got rid of it. You could say that Labour took too long to implement its policy, but it’s a lie to say they had no policy at all to improve mining safety.

              Whinging about your own lack of knowledge is particularly pathetic! Trying to pin the tail on anyone but the donkey reminds me of commentators at KB and WO. It was a suggestion that you might feel more at home there. You’re less likely to get called out on your bullshit after all, especially if you like bagging Labour for things National has caused.

        • NickS 15.1.1.2

          lolwut?

          Oh right, instead of sanity checking the assumption you have of the DoL being lax on safety checks during the Labour years, you instead blithely charge forward with it, and try and spread the blame. And while yes, mine safety regs were relaxed over the last 20 years, the facts remain that the laws National inherited, as outlined in the report, would have lead to Pike River being shut due to safety concerns if those laws had have been enforced.

          Thus the core question is “why the fuck did this happen?”. Given National’s cut n’ slash attitude to the public service, it should come as no surprise that many here assume this disaster partly stems from cut backs in DoL staff numbers post National taking power in 2008. But I do not assume this, per critical thinking 101. The same thing you so far seem incapable of comprehending, instead charging in on a high horse of unchecked assumptions and “independent” thinking.

          Now as to what I think of this, it’s very straightforward – that a Minister should be competent enough to sanity check the government department(s) that they’re responsible for any significant issues and so fix them. Or a least get someone else more competent to do the job. And so far we’ve seen a National Party happy to charge forth and mess with what was inherited from Labour, “fixing” as they see fit, which in the case of Education and ACC has been an utter mess. But to the point, I regard a Minister as having a very high level of responsibility for their department(s), and so I see them responsible for any failing of the culture and practices of those departments. As if there are major issues, such as the privacy ones with WINZ and ACC, or the DoL enforcement issues, that are known about within the Department, the Minister should find them and deal with them. And if unable to do so or create a situation where staff cannot broach these issues, then I see it as a major failure of leadership and management, which is down to the Minister own damn (in)competence.

          Thus in this case, I see once more an example of Wilkinson’s repeat incompetence when given a position of responsibility, that once more shows her unfitness for holding office. And in this case that incompetence had a cost of 29 lives and the direct social and economic costs of those deaths. Rather preventable deaths too.

          But hey, why actually bother to critically think about this when according to you I’m an ideologue? Oh right, you’re seemingly an ignorant idiot who lacks the capability to realise that you’re an ignorant idiot and think instead they’re “smart”.

          Now do the rest of us a favour and fuck off somewhere else before I decide to use you as a scratching post or at least show some fucking brains and basic critical thinking.

  16. Treetop 16

    Apparently the Pike River report is scathing and Wilkinson is the current Minister of Labour. When 29 men die due to safety being pushed out for production, the minister has blood on her hands and so do the Pike River Mine management.

    • Reagan Cline 16.1

      The responsibility lies with the owners of Pike River Coal Company,

      The shareholders, who did not make it their business to find out if the men working in their property were working safely, who did not attend the annual meeting and insist that the mine be run safely, who were only interested in a dividend as early as possible – and let the Government and insurance carry the risk of a mine disaster.

      Amoral, greedy, shortsighted, capitalist perverts. See how clean their hands are !

      • Treetop 16.1.1

        The government are not blameless. The rot set in in 1992 under Bill Birch re deregulation. Accountability stops with the minister as the minister has to ensure that profit is not put before safety.

  17. vto 17

    I now look forward to John Dow standing up in front of NZ as ex-Chairman of Pike River and doing the same – accepting responsibility…. because as much as Wilkinson has admitted her role, the role of John Dow and the other directors and owners is far more direct and they are more culpable.

    John Dow and his directors actions were negligent to such an extent that they caused death. This must be answered.

    • weka 17.1

      One of the family members on nine to noon this morning said they will be looking at a law change to allow prosecutions for corporate manslaughter. Won’t help the Pike River miners, but would lessen the chances of it happening again.

      • Colonial Viper 17.1.1

        This would be an excellent law change. There should also be an option for grevious bodily harm, in the instance where a fatality is not caused, but life threatening injury is.

  18. Fisiani 18

    A resignation within minutes of a report for an event over which she had no input. Very honourable. Some of the above politically mischievous posters obviously do not know their NZ history. Compare her honourable actions with below

    After the Cave Creek tragedy of 28 April 1995 – when a Department of Conservation viewing platform on the West Coast of the South Island collapsed, killing 14 people and seriously injuring several others – a commission of inquiry found that the department was at fault. The minister of conservation, Denis Marshall, chose not to resign but instead he stayed on in his position to remedy the faults that had contributed to the disaster. Eventually he resigned, but not from cabinet, only as minister of conservation. His announcement to Parliament on 30 May 1996 explicitly stated the rectification view: ‘On ministerial responsibility, Ministers should at the very least publicly make themselves accountable and ensure that the errors will not occur again. I believe I have done that. I said in the House last November that I am profoundly sorry. Today I am taking a further step to express my sorrow for what happened that fateful day at Cave Creek.’

    • vto 18.1

      Fisiani, are you sure you’re not John Key himself? Because all you ever do is blurt out some blatant collosal falsehood and then proceed to dance on an unrelated pinhead as if it is the be-all and end-all. What a waste of space. duh

    • Jackal 18.2

      Actually Fisiani, Cave creek was largely caused by cutbacks in funding while National was in power. The platform was constructed in April 1994 (when the 44th National government held power) by Department of Conservation workers. Because of faults in its construction, the platform tipped off its base and fell onto the boulders and rocks of the creek-bed below, killing 14 people.

      Besides the specific flaws in the actual platform and methods of its construction, the Commission that looked into the accident said the “root causes” of the collapse were systemic problems in the Department as a whole. They found that the Department was seriously under-funded and under-resourced, and that the Department had not been given sufficient resources to meet its requirements without “cutting corners”, and was frequently forced to accept poor quality standards due to its lack of funding. The report of the Commission concluded that given the department’s state, “a tragedy such as Cave Creek was almost bound to happen”.

      Besides, Marshall eventually did resigned in May 1996, just over a year after the accident occurred. Did that fact slip your wishy washy mind Fisiani? Are you saying that Marshall was responsible, even though the Commission of Inquiry found that it was funding cuts made by a National government that was mainly to blame for the loss of 14 lives?

      It appears for all intents and purposes that you’re the one who doesn’t know their NZ history Fisiani… Or perhaps you only know the history that the right wing have tried to re-write.

      • fisiani 18.2.1

        Marshall chose not to resign after the Commission reported. Wilkinson did resign the day the Commission reported
        I do know my New Zealand history.

        • PlanetOrphan 18.2.1.1

          When the going gets tough …. Spineless maggots run away in fear.
          Aye Fisiani

        • Jackal 18.2.1.2

          So Wilkinson resigns because National failed to ensure safety at Pike River mine due to an underfunded inspectorate and fast tracking the mines operation. That’s funding cuts made by National btw. Marshall resigns because of funding cuts that were also made by National’s 44th government that the Commission of Inquiry found had led to the Cave Creek disaster… And because Marshall took longer to resign after the Commission’s findings than Wilkinson, you think National is better? FFS!

          The difference is that the Cave Creek Inquiry didn’t find any fault with a Labour government that led to the disaster, while both Commissions have found fault with Nationals governance and more specifically their funding cuts in the wrong places. In my opinion, National under John Key should lose the next election on this issue alone.

  19. Peter Martin 19

    So it seems that someone has to die before Ministerial responsibility kicks in
    I wonder how many folk Dr Richard Worth’s textses killed…

  20. Matthew Hooton 20

    well of course the deaths of 29 workers because of negligence by the company and successive governments is all those things. it hasn’t happened since cave creek

    • Colonial Viper 20.1

      I hope you will support greatly increased and independent mine safety regulation and enforcement, Matthew.

      This neo-liberal hands off “self-regulation” stuff doesn’t work, and we’ve paid for it in blood.

      • vto 20.1.1

        Ha, yep lets wait for the next great and wonderful idea from the right ….. self-regulation for the heavy trucking industry. Oh wait, it is already being proposed. For fucks sake these guys live on another planet

      • Matthew Hooton 20.1.2

        well certainly it has to be a hell of a lot better than it obviously has been. i’m not sure that “neo-liberalism” has much to do with it though. i think you’ll find mine disasters like this happen in a whole lot of countries with many different overall approaches to political philosophy.

        • vto 20.1.2.1

          ” i think you’ll find mine disasters like this happen in a whole lot of countries with many different overall approaches to political philosophy.”

          Bloody hell Mr Hooton, why don’t you go and do some reading of the report and get some knowledge of what has happenned. It is abundantly clear that political philosophy led to the changes in the mine inspections regime. This subsequently led directly to death.

          It is all there in black and white.

          Do you have an agenda of some sort?

          • Jim Nald 20.1.2.1.1

            “i think you’ll find mine disasters like this happen in a whole lot of countries”

            yup, well done, try to normalise Pike River.

            • karol 20.1.2.1.1.1

              Actually the official report says the Pike River Mine accident was preventable, as just reported on RNZ.

              Also says so on Stuff:

              The Pike River tragedy was preventable and caused by the mine being used before it was ready, with the company ignoring warnings of explosive methane levels, a Royal Commission has found.

          • Anne 20.1.2.1.2

            Look. You’d better cut Hooton some rope. He’s in full panic mode these days. You only have to listen to Radio NZ’s political spot this morning to recognise that – white-anting David Cunliffe to the point of near hysteria. The Nats are worried!!!

            • felix 20.1.2.1.2.1

              :D Was pretty funny this morning, trying his best to sound calm and reasoned.

              • Anne

                What I thought was even funnier was his description/explanation of the current political situation inside the Labour Party, and sitting opposite him (metaphorically speaking anyway) was the former Labour Party President, Mike Williams. Mike did a sterling job not snorting out loud… so it could be heard by listeners.

                • Matthew Hooton

                  Nor of course did Mike contradict anything I had to say about the current political situation inside the Labour Party, especially on the Tamihere matter, about which he said he had been consulted.

                  • felix

                    It seems to me that quite often the people you appear with in the broadcast media are fully aware that they don’t need to do much to discredit you except laugh, snort, and let you carry on.

                  • Anne

                    No, because you never gave him a chance… then the time limit ran out.

                    I expect he also didn’t regard your contribution re – the current nuances inside the Labour Party worthy of a considered response.

        • Colonial Viper 20.1.2.2

          Neoliberalism focusses on minimising/starving out the role of the public sector and giving the private sector free reign to maximise profits how they see fit Matthew, usually under the guise of “cutting red tape”.

          But I think you know this very well.

    • Jim Nald 20.2

      well of course according to that then, it isn’t so bad.
      you are so sweet, matthew.

  21. tracey 21

    The interesting thing is that some are confusing the result of lying/negligence with the responsibility for it… A minister who lies and commits a crime (banks) is actually far more responsible than wilkinson who most will accept didnt actually do or not do anything to contribute. So, this is a gesture but really according to monk this govt cut all communication with the families 18 months ago, so it will be a little hollow for them.

    Then we have a minister openly breaching privacy laws for political gain, overseeing a ministry that gave little or no thought to security of information it holds… And who says she might do it again… It looks to me like wilkinson may be the sacrifice to make this govt appear accountable when it isnt…

    • Jackal 21.1

      tracy

      …Wilkinson who most will accept didnt actually do or not do anything to contribute.

      You forget that in May 2010 (six months before the explosions), even after Labour MP Damien O’Connor had formally requested, Kate Wilkinson refused to reopen the review on mine safety. So no, I don’t think most people would agree that Wilkinson is not in some way responsible for the Pike River disaster.

  22. Treetop 22

    The Pike River Commission of Inquiry appears to have got to the truth of the matter without all of the physical evidence being available.

    Were there more inquiries into where the government is falling short there would be a snap election as too much is being covered up e.g. GCSB.

  23. Red Rosa 23

    An example to Bennett. We’ll see if it is followed.

    And the beginning of justice at Pike River. An extreme and tragic example of 19th century work practices 100 years on. There might even be a few right-wing bloggers showing a twinge of conscience.

    Other National policies should be studied in the light of this disaster. More deregulation, anyone?

    Orwellian echoes…..

    As Minister of Labour, Wilkinson has done her level best to reduce wages and worsen working conditions, across the board.

    And let’s not forget that as Minister of Conservation she has been working AGAINST conservation to an extraordinary extent. A similar degree of integrity there would see her resign from that portfolio as well.

  24. tracey 24

    Jackal…. But brownlee knows where all the bodies are buried

  25. Colonial Viper 25

    This is the kind of partisan bullshit which drives me nuts. Does the National Government have primary responsibility for the failures at Pike River? Yes, the disaster happened on their watch, and their shitty disrespectful, untrustworthy management of the aftermath of the crisis is a shame on this country.

    But the mine design and construction, pre-production safety auditing and final production approvals including OK’ing wholly inadequate facilities for ventilation/entrances/exits etc. all occurred under Labour.

    • Matthew Hooton 25.1

      CV, exactly. Current govt has to take primary responsibility. Previous govt, company management etc also to blame.

      • RedLogix 25.1.1

        And the National govt prior who is primarily responsible for the dismantling of the Mines Inspectorate.

        Not to let the fifth Labour govt entirely off the hook; but ultimately this is a failure of the neo-liberal de-regulation ideology and that tars every Party that has both promoted it and failed to repudiate it.

      • gobsmacked 25.1.2

        Yes, I don’t see why the previous gov’t should get a free pass, and the Royal Commission hasn’t given them one.

        The decision to reduce mine safety inspectors was taken under National in the 1990′s, but did Labour right that wrong? Not AFAIK.

        As for Wilkinson, I’d like to give her credit, but I can’t quit my job and keep the same salary for a reduced workload, so I don’t think “resign” is the correct term here. “Handed over the file, without penalty, from either the boss or the taxpayer” would be more accurate.

      • Jackal 25.1.3

        How is the Labour party responsible? One of the main causes is that the mine was used before it was ready. It was opened by Gerry Brownlee in 2008. I recall reading something about National fast tracking the mine opening as well. If the mine was constructed to design, which Labour did have some oversight for, you might have a point. But it’s likely that corners were cut and the design was not properly followed. Until we have the report, we won’t know for sure, which makes your claims mere speculation.

        • Colonial Viper 25.1.3.1

          Labour PARTY isn’t responsible.

          Labour GOVERNMENT was responsible for not reinstating the Mines Inspectorate which the union the EPMU should have MADE them do in the first term.

          DoL under the Labour GOVERNMENT was responsible for not ensuring that the design and construction of Pike River was up to international best practice.

          Even a shitty townhouse construction on the North Shore has to be Ok’d as being built to plan. Why not a billion dollar mine.

          NATIONAL is responsible for the original disolution of the Mines Inspectorate and then letting Pike River owners run the operation like a 3rd world Chinese dig.

          It was opened by Gerry Brownlee in 2008.

          So? Brownlee cut a ribbon.

          But which party was in power all through 2008 as Pike River was being completed and staffed? What red flags about that mine were raised by the DoL or the Minister of Labour during all that time?

          • Te Reo Putake 25.1.3.1.1

            What did this have to do with the EPMU and how do you think they make Governments do things, CV? And why do you think Pike was completed and staffed in 2008?

          • Jackal 25.1.3.1.2

            That’s all well and good CV, but the fact of the matter is that most of the problems that resulted in Pike River exploding happened after National gained power, and therefore they had responsibility. For instance, problems with how the electrical system was implemented, operated and inspected became more severe after 2009.

            It was the way many things were installed without regard for best practice that contributed to the explosion. This infrastructure was installed after National had oversight for some time, and probably did not adhere to any plans that were previously approved by Labour. You certainly have not provided any evidence for this claim CV?

            Brownlee cut a ribbon… As the Minister in charge as the mine became operational, he did a lot more than that. Do you think that budget cuts implemented by him made no contribution to the inspectorates dysfunction? Do you think that Brownlee had no say in Nationals decision to not implement the review into mine safety?

            The Commission has found that funding cuts ensured the inspectorate couldn’t undertake its job properly, and with a proper regulator that was not dysfunctional (that’s the word they used), the disaster might not have occurred. National made the decision to cut DOL funding. Pike River made the decision to not follow best practice and staff the operation with inexperienced workers. The Labour party (as far as I can tell) had no say in either of these things.

            You can read the Royal Commission’s findings on the Pike River Coal Mine Tragedy here.

      • Dr Terry 25.1.4

        Come on all you who blame everything imaginable . . . you have neglected only to blame GOD.

    • Treetop 25.2

      CV re the mine being approved by the Labour Government is a fact. The mine may have been shut down or modified had monitoring been as stringent as was required.

      • Treetop 25.2.1

        October 2008 coal production started. Production was slow initially, it took until 2009/2010 to reach significant levels according to wikipedia.

        Inhindsight the mine should never have been opened. Had the mine been properly monitored it is unknown whether or not it would have been modified or shut down post operation.

        Would not let me edit.

  26. Ted 26

    Will Paula Bennett also be doing the honourable thing?

  27. tracey 27

    Red rosa, the policy wont change… Remember when tolley was replaced in education. The women are disposable.

  28. prism 28

    Too right Kate is walking away. Someone will have to oversee the portfolio. Hand it over Kate, though it’s a bit soiled, actually the dust is quite black and can’t be wiped off. But someone has to do the dirty job, but it’s not a good thing to have an albatross like that hanging on the neck of someone who might be wanting to have a run at the PM long jump. Got to be light on your feet to keep up with smile and wave’s memory if he wants to go back to USA now that the market there has picked up a little.

  29. AmaKiwi 29

    How will Labour respond?

    What will the Greens and NZ First do?

    This is THE test of who is the opposition. The Labour leadership is on the line.

    • Colonial Viper 29.1

      I guess we’ll know after the 6 o’clock news.

      • karol 29.1.1

        David Shearer’s response: Starts with preamble, commiserations to victime families, Wilkinson was right to resign.  No comments about what happened re- mine safety under Clark government, then:
         

        “Urgent action must now be taken by the new Minister to restore confidence in mine safety but also in the Department of Labour so that all Kiwis can be sure they are safe at work.
         
        “We have long advocated for changes to improve workers’ safety, including the reinstatement of check inspectors in mines, and we will support the adoption of the Commission’s key recommendations,” said David Shearer.
         
        Darien Fenton said the weakening of workers’ rights in employment law makes it harder for them to speak out when there are safety concerns.
         
        “Testimony to the Royal Commission showed the contempt that the Pike River management had for the role of the union in health and safety and its resistance to their involvement.
         
        “It also showed the lack of respect the Labour Department inspectors had for workers on the job who knew and experienced the risks of their workplace every day.
         
        “This Government has systematically dismantled employee participation in health and safety, including cuts to worker health and safety training. That’s an abdication of responsibility for protecting our workforce.
         
        “The families will want something good to come from this terrible tragedy and that must include a change in the Government’s attitude towards workers, unions and its own role in keeping people safe on the job,” said Darien Fenton.

         
        Kevin Hague’s response, is a bit vague about which governments are responsible, just dating regulation problems since 1992. His statement includes:
         

        “There also needs to be accountability for the catastrophic and comprehensive failure by the Department of Labour, as the regulator.
         
        “The absorption of the Department of Labour into the newly formed Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment risks further diminishing the regulatory oversight of occupational health and safety risks.
         

         

        • Colonial Viper 29.1.1.1

          The Greens don’t have the depth of knowledge in industry and mining as Labour does. Come on Labour, its your time to shine, come on…

  30. Tim 30

    I commented on open mike about this but I was wondering who has watched the Proim Minsta’s apearances in the MSM – commenting on the Poik Riva report.
    Anyone else think the guy was either pissed….or very uneasy whilst desperately trying to maintain a veneer of authority – or what.
    I sounded loik he was shhhhhizzing an shhhhhhhhhminging his way thru it all trying to sourn vincing to the tune of – well what ever tune – with all those new little minions (Bennett, Jamie-Lea, Tauranga-Boy) singing the frikken descant.
    Truely mean-spirited, lying nasty little specimens.
    Kate Williamson -even tho’ she’s a patheic bitch – has come thru’ it retaining a degree of honour befitting her title. BUT what of “We’ll do whatever it take” Jonky?, or a number of others.

    Blood runs……even though it may have dried up deep below.

    Itchim Shhhhmetchim…………..shhhhhhhhmcissle shhhhhhhmosssil, truely goan forwid, “there’ll be some learnings” (Key on Breakfast).
    Well let’s hope that moit hiv learned him – dear tit though cos he thinks Beckham is as thickis Batchit and pots and kettles are only for the servants to worry about

  31. NickS 31

    We need a Hooten translator plugin, one that changes all his comments to “herp derpderp derpity”

  32. Wilkinson is taking the fall for the real culprits,the ministers who got rid of inspectors and
    only allowed one for the whole country and relaxing health and safety rules.
    Cost cutting is of the utmost importance of the nact govt, which lead to pike river.

  33. “We want to see charges… somebody is responsible for this.”

    http://www.truthdig.com/report/item/the_careerists_20120723

    The Careerists
    Posted on Jul 23, 2012
    By Chris Hedges
    The greatest crimes of human history are made possible by the most colorless human beings. They are the careerists. The bureaucrats. The cynics. They do the little chores that make vast, complicated systems of exploitation and death a reality. They collect and read the personal data gathered on tens of millions of us by the security and surveillance state. They keep the accounts of ExxonMobil, BP and Goldman Sachs. They build or pilot aerial drones. They work in corporate advertising and public relations. They issue the forms. They process the papers. They deny food stamps to some and unemployment benefits or medical coverage to others. They enforce the laws and the regulations. And they do not ask questions.
    Good. Evil. These words do not mean anything to them. They are beyond morality. They are there to make corporate systems function. If insurance companies abandon tens of millions of sick to suffer and die, so be it. If banks and sheriff departments toss families out of their homes, so be it. If financial firms rob citizens of their savings, so be it. If the government shuts down schools and libraries, so be it. If the military murders children in Pakistan or Afghanistan, so be it. If commodity speculators drive up the cost of rice and corn and wheat so that they are unaffordable for hundreds of millions of poor across the planet, so be it. If Congress and the courts strip citizens of basic civil liberties, so be it. If the fossil fuel industry turns the earth into a broiler of greenhouse gases that doom us, so be it. They serve the system. The god of profit and exploitation. The most dangerous force in the industrialized world does not come from those who wield radical creeds, whether Islamic radicalism or Christian fundamentalism, but from legions of faceless bureaucrats who claw their way up layered corporate and governmental machines. They serve any system that meets their pathetic quota of needs.

    • kousei 33.1

      Yes good comments from Hedges. Where are the people who said NO this is not right? Did anyone say I know this is not safe and I refuse to continue under these conditions because this is important and it’s wrong if lives are knowingly put at risk because a company’s management believes profit is more important than peoples welfare. Comes down to Exit, Voice or loyalty. Most choose loyalty.

  34. lefty 34

    It is not enough to simply concentrate on governments and their departments for accountability for worker safety.

    Certainly there needs to be good regulation and enforcement of health and safety in the workplace.

    The Minister is right to resign , various heads should roll in the old DOL and improved legislation and enforcement procedures need to be introduced urgently.

    But investors who profit from the labour of others have a responsibility to at least ensure those who create the wealth they benefit from are safe at work.

    Every single shareholder of Pike River needs to be held accountable. Its not good enough for investors to be able to simply shrug their shoulders and walk away from the pain and misery they have funded.

    As things stand the families have lost their loved ones, the taxpayer has had to pay out hugely for rescue attempts, for the inquiry and for a range of associated costs but investors simply write off their losses, call in the receivers and go their merry way.

    If small investors have a nice ‘balanced’ portfolio of investments the financial loss will mean very little as there will be another group of exploited workers who will be busy making up for their losses as we speak.

    And some of the big shareholders in Pike River at the time of the disaster are still operating other companies in the energy field.

    They should not be allowed to do so.

  35. Scuse me for shouting but

    HOW ABOUT THIS

    I blogged in 2010 about Pike River and said this:

    ” The last Labour Government put out a discussion paper titled Improving health and safety hazard management in the Underground Mining Industry. The paper attracted some submissions a synopsis of which were released just before the 2008 election. Incoming Minister Kate Wilkinson decided to shelve the paper and nothing else occurred.”

    The papers have been taken down and the links do not work any more.  They have obviously been removed so that we cannot discuss them or work out how bad a decision it was of Wilkinson to shelve them.

    Bastards … 

  36. appleboy 36

    You’ve got to be joking, resigning? a pr stunt…from a party whose leader specialises in not taking responsibility for anything! Total bullshit!

    .

  37. Dr Terry 37

    Among all this searching for who is to blame, is there thought for the victims of Pike Creek, that is, the families of the deceased? What the devil must they be going through right now in light of this report? We ought have first listened to their responses.

    • karol 37.1

      Yes, considerations should first be for the families and friends of the dead.  That the deaths were deemed preventable must be devastating to them.  There actually hasn’t been much reported of their responses.  They may be digesting the information and will come out with a public response in the next day or so.
       
      There was an intitial report on Stuff saying that families were considering manslaughter charges.  But some responses that were online earlier seem to have been removed.  The news reports are largely in the Royal Commission’s findings, Key’s statements, and Wilkinson’s resignation.

  38. Mickey Mouse 38

    Well that’s knocked Key and Beckham off the front page, hasn’t it

  39. peterlepaysan 39

    It is very rare for NZ ministers to resign over departmental problems.

    Wilkinson’s departure could be seen as homourable, and I accept that.

    It can also seen to be politically expedient.

    Wilkinson’s departure deflects a lot of opposition ammunition.

    I suspect she is relieved that she does not have to find the money to put into effect the Commissions findings

    I doubt that john or bill are keen on spending money on stuff that does not depend on the “market”.

    Brownlee or Joyce to take over? They are both perfect and know everything.

    Problem solved.

    See ya.

    Yours truly

    Smile and Wave from Wall Street.

  40. dewithiel 40

    The spelling ‘Labor’ is also found in the Guardian’s report: http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2012/nov/05/pike-river-mine-methane-warnings. I’d guess it’s the Associated Press style manual at fault.

  41. Michael 41

    Wilkinson should be out of Cabinet, altogether (and her Ministerial mansion, limo, etc), otherwise her “resignation” from the Labour portfolio is just “another bullshit PR stunt” from a government that can’t do anything else. The Department of Labour needs a good housecleaning (perhaps a suitable labour for Hercules after he finishes cleaning out the Augean stables?).

  42. Wychbych 42

    Gutless bitch. Or should I say, like a rat, leaving a sinking ship.

    Honourable? This cabinet? It sounds like ‘love’ in the mouth of a whore.

  43. joe90 43

    Pricks.

    http://www.listener.co.nz/commentary/pike-river-mine-inquiry/pike-river-inquiry-phase-3/

    <In early September 2010, the pressure to produce coal increased massively when Whittall introduced a production bonus for all Pike staffers. If hydraulic mining was underway by 24 September and producing a targetted volume of coal, the men would get a $10,000 bonus. After this, Nishioka says he was under pressure from all the miners to get the system going as quickly as possible.

    http://www.stuff.co.nz/national/pike-river-mine-disaster/7905701/Pike-River-tragedy-preventable-report-says

    The Pike River tragedy was preventable and caused by the mine being used before it was ready and the company ignoring warnings of explosive methane levels, a royal commission has found.

    In a damning report on the November 2010 explosion that killed 29 workers, the commission found Pike River’s “drive for coal production before the mine was ready created the circumstances within which the tragedy occurred”.

  44. Rhinocrates 44

    CV, exactly. Current govt has to take primary responsibility. Previous govt, company management etc also to blame.

    Well isn’t Hooters being a busy little chappie tonight?* He’s doing a slick little version of, “if the blame can be pinned on a Labour politician, it’s ‘bloody Labour’, but if it’s a NACT politician, then it’s ‘bloody politicians!’ ” Let’s see how much we can dilute responsibility by spreading it around as far as we can. None of “the buck stops here”; oh no, instead it’s “the cents are running everywhere!”

    Then there’s the “They’re not comparable!” You see, Paula Bennett’s general awfulness and John Banks’ corruption didn’t result in actual directly attributable deaths so really, what they did is… wellllll, not good, but really, don’t get your knickers in a twist over this. You see, only if someone dies now… that’s the standard, that’s the benchmark for National ministers.

    I take it that the walking skidmark Hooters has learned that a dead baby joke won’t cut it now. Hell, he might even be aware that other people comprehend the notion of taste… but he still doesn’t quite get it himself. Compassion isn’t really built into his brain, you see.

    That’s the standard now, according to John Key and Hooters is there to sell it. If lots of people die, then, yeah, a minister has to resign one of their portfolios, but not all. Anything else… not so much. Undermining the rule of law, the constitution (it’s not written on one single piece of paper, but that doesn’t mean that we don’t have one) privacy, corruption like Bennett and Banks… hell, it’s “not comparable” so they don’t have to resign.

    It’s OK if you’re NACT. Just not OK if you’re anyone else.

    Can you see what he’s trying to do? He’s using the deaths of miners, in that twisted way of his to lessen the heat on Bennett. What a sick mercenary bastard.

    Aren’t you so glad to have him as an independent political commentator and definer of ethics? Doesn’t he make uncertainties so crystal clear?

    *Albeit a bit sloppy – the “etc”- oh, that’s lazy. A good, professional writer always avoids “etc”. “etc” is just “I’m too bloody lazy… can you take that as a dogwhistle guys, please? You all know what I mean, right?”

  45. Tim G 45

    So, after months of the right of the Right decrying “Commie Kate” for being spineless in getting on with NActs butchering of the ERA, she steps down. Bets on the hatchet person (Joycie, or too high level for unpopular reform? Could they resurrect Nick Smith to cop a bit more public backlash?) or maybe someone more vacuous (Bennett would struggle with the workload, but she’s equally disposable and she’d do what she’s told) that they stick in to replace her.

    Now excuse me for being flippant, but do you think her abdication of ministerial responsibility (for one of her portfolios) is anything other but expediency by the Nats?

  46. gnomic 46

    Wilkinson is an enemy of the people, and her portfolio should have been called Minister for the Boss Class while she held it. Presumably her resignation is just a way of ducking for cover, rather than any genuine expression of regret and shame. Someone actually sorry for their sins of omission and commission would have resigned from Parliament. OK, to be realistic, six months on the back benches at least, a token sin binning.

    Just by the way, can anyone explain why for some time now Cameron Slater has been calling her a Marxist on his hard twitting blog? Sadsack seemed to have some snitch on Kate, but I couldn’t tell why. There wasn’t much more she could have done apart from cutting the minimum wage to a dollar or what am I missing?

    • Tim G 46.1

      You are missing her tardiness around the review of s6A of the ERA relating to vulnerable employees upon the sale of a business (hardly the radical stuff, although Crest Commercial Cleaning are starting to get a bit too much egg on their faces) and what the Right (Whale and his Boss Class/lobotimised readership) regard as a failure to gut collective bargaining. Of course, that had all be signalled by Kate, but there was a sense that she had been slow off the mark.

      What’s next for the MoL?

  47. Fortran 47

    But Trevor was Minister of Labour who signed off the Pike River Mine.

    • Jim Nald 47.1

      But Kate Wilkinson’s claim to fame will go down in ministerial history as a convenient resignation. Calculated, cynical timing, and at little personal cost.

  48. Bruce 48

    Wilkinson had recommendations proposed to her, she turned them down:
    http://www.scoop.co.nz/stories/PA1107/S00331/wilkinson-must-go-to-progress-mine-safety.htm

    Yet she still feels competent to control other departments:
    http://www.stuff.co.nz/the-press/news/7909923/What-have-I-done-wrong-Wilkinson

    Get rid of her.

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    The Public Service Association says the announcement that Labour MP Shane Jones is to move to a new ‘ambassador-level’ role...
    PSA | 24-04
  • Evidence lacking for Northland council amalgamation
    The Public Service Association has told a Local Government Commission hearing in Kaikohe that there is a lack of evidence supporting...
    PSA | 24-04
  • World News Brief, Thursday April 24
    Top of the AgendaObama Navigates Asia-Pacific Security Challenges...
    Pundit | 24-04
  • This is treason, sirs!
    A guest post by Captain Horace Cockwood, RN, on the problems besetting the Labour Party...
    Imperator Fish | 24-04
  • The Beatification of St Jonesy
    This has been even stupider than I thought it would be. The majority of the media commentary regarding Jones has been – as Malcolm Tucker would put it – borderline homoerotic. Morning Report featured Damien O’Connor, Clayton Cosgrove, John Tamihere, Chris...
    DimPost | 24-04
  • Photo of the day – ANZAC
    I don’t know if they’ve done it again this year but this from 2012 was one of my favourite things to happen in Takutai Square Photo are credited to oh.yes.melbourne...
    Transport Blog | 24-04
  • How to become a climate change denier (in 4 easy steps)
    Cartoon drawn by Joshua Cakeburger Drummond as a contribution to the High Water Project, and rooted in bitter experience, I suspect…...
    Hot Topic | 24-04
  • TV3′s The Nation: Antarctica and public understanding of climate change
    A few days have passed since Lisa Owen’s interview with Antarctic scientists Chuck Kennicutt of the US and Gary Wilson of New Zealand on TV3’s The Nation but I hope it’s still worth drawing attention to. Programmes like The Nation...
    Hot Topic | 24-04
  • Shane Gones
    So, Shane Jones is quitting politics.  The reasons given, according to Polity, are because he wants the Labour Party to embrace a wide range of opinions, and that that too many people have opinions he doesn't agree with, like forming...
    Left hand palm | 24-04
  • Australia welches on open government
    Last year, Australia announced that it was joining the Open Government Partnership. But now that Tony Abbott is in charge, they're backing out:THE Abbott government is reconsidering Labor’s pledge to sign Australia up for a major international transparency and citizen...
    No Right Turn | 24-04
  • A counterproductive waste of money
    That's the quick assessment of Britain's participation in the "war on terror":Britain's military operations since the end of the cold war have cost £34.7bn and a further £30bn may have to be spent on long-term veteran care, according to an...
    No Right Turn | 24-04
  • Shane Jones Nationalised
    Shane Jones is on Radio Live as I type this, explaining that he quit politics because he just couldn't be arsed etc.  "No reservoir of energy to..." as he put it.  Ridiculous.  Retirement at 54.  A career beginning and ending...
    Tumeke | 24-04
  • The ICJ orders Australia to stop interfering with witnesses
    Last year, in what was clearly the actions of a guilty government, the Australian government detained a former ASIS agent who was going to testify against them over their bugging of the government of East Timor, raiding his house and...
    No Right Turn | 24-04
  • Here’s what a real bloke sounds like
    Kelvin Davis3 hrs ·...
    Pundit | 24-04
  • So long Shane, thanks for all the ‘fush’
    So Shane Jones is off. Retired from politics he says. Couldn’t give 100 percent to the cause so he did what he thought was best for the Party.Shane Jones has always been a polarising figure and never more so when...
    Greenpeace NZ blog | 24-04
  • The benefits of transparency
    Ministerial expenses were released today, and as usual, I spent an hour trawling through the credit card statements hoping to find evidence of Ministers rorting us. So what did I find? Nothing. No $1,000 a night luxury hotel rooms. No...
    No Right Turn | 24-04
  • Christchurch to use Auckland’s old trains?
    As the new electric trains roll out over the coming year or so, a question we don’t know the answer to is what will happen to the old diesel trains Auckland no longer needs. Of course we will need to...
    Transport Blog | 24-04
  • Access: Defective, deficient, deviant and delinquent
    As many NZ babies do, I developed eczema and asthma. My mother took me to various clinicians. I have vague impressions of kindly doctors with strange accents. In retrospect they were probably part of the Jewish diaspora - educated at...
    Public Address | 23-04
  • An FPP politician in an MMP world
    So, now that Shane Jones has gone, he's come clean about the reason: he didn't want to work alongside Russel Norman and the Greens. Which I think emphasises just how much of a throwback Jones was, and how unsuited he...
    No Right Turn | 23-04
  • Hard News: Friday Music: News from talented women
    As I may have noted once or twice, Janine and the Mixtape's Dark Mind EP is one of last year's overlooked local gems. Or perhaps not-so-overlooked now, given that her new video for 'Hold Me' was premiered this week on...
    Public Address | 23-04
  • Focus on housing costs, raise wages not interest rates
    "The increase in the Reserve Bank's interest rate, while expected, shows little imagination and will raise mortgage costs for home owners," says CTU economist Bill Rosenberg. “The focus should be on getting housing costs down, and raising wages to make...
    CTU | 23-04
  • One year on: progress made to prevent another Rana Plaza tragedy
    Date of Release: Thursday, April 24, 2014Body:  An official from one of the two global union bodies that negotiated the Bangladesh Accord on Fire and Building Safety, currently visiting New Zealand, says that the Accord continues to make big steps forward to ensure...
    First Union Media | 23-04
  • Update from Dr.Gevil
    We wanted to share with you a little fun....
    Gareth’s World | 23-04
  • Matauri Bay: There are certain stories that get under your skin