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On Pike

Written By: - Date published: 3:56 pm, December 12th, 2013 - 94 comments
Categories: health and safety, law, Unions, workers' rights - Tags:

The decision announced today (but made when?) to withdraw the charges against Pike CEO Peter Whittall cannot be left to rest.

When did a Judge of a New Zealand Court participate in a deal where criminal charges were dropped and money paid.  It is insufficient to say the two are not connected.  The money has been paid into the Court today.  The Judge should have had nothing to do with this part of the agreement nor used the Court to collect the cash, and she seemed in her comments to support the deal saying it was “a good outcome”.  This is my view is highly inappropriate.

The precedent is huge.  The Health and Safety in Employment Act forbids insurance being taken out to cover for penalties.  The “arrangement” reached with Whittall and his insurers with the Crown, bypasses the intention of the Act and allows a fine already ordered to be paid against the Company in one case, to be paid to escape the possibility of a conviction and fine in another, and by insurance.

If the charges could not be made to stick then it is my view, they must have been poorly laid, poorly investigated and again point to a lack of capacity and rigour in the Department.  When a Royal Commission finds as strongly as it, systematic failings in management at the mine, the test of failing to “take all practicable steps” in regards health and safety should have been proved.

Clearly the Department itself would have been a focus of this case if Whittall had continued to defend himself.  It’s failings would have been re-canvassed and its direct dealings with Whittall exposed which was not done in the Royal Commission.   The Cabinets decision not to pay reparations to the families despite agencies like ACC receiving insurance payments for the mine, left the families in a precarious financial position and opened the door for this offer to come in.  Everyone wins here except the families and most importantly except the men killed in the mine.  It is the Crowns job to represent them.  They cannot seek justice themselves.  When someone is killed like this, we hand the responsibility to the Crown to seek justice – it has failed in every way for the men at Pike.  The Cabinet should continue to be pressured to compensate for the Crowns role.

In this case, MBIE are saying the case was a waste of money given it would be complex and long.  It is saying spending the money is not in the public interest.  This is in contrast to the Cabinet Decision to allow the families to sue the Crown if they so wish, rather than seek to compensate on agreed terms – leaving the responsibility for justice to sit on the families shoulders.

We are up to our eyeballs in legal expenses around health and safety.  While money pours in from Government Agencies  to help industries run health and safety initiatives, we are fighting on all fronts using the money paid in union fees by shop workers that stack supermarket shelves at night,  to try and be the counter-voice here.  Be it cases for Security Guards killed on their first night at work on Fulton Hogan Building sites, the families of forest workers appearing at Coronial hearings or for seeking advice on what happened today in Christchurch District Court.  It sometimes feels unsustainable against all the lawyers that corporations can afford, and with a Department which does not consult or work with us on these issues.  I hope the new Worksafe will be better and we are positive about it and its new leadership but that does not release us from seeking justice in the present situation.   We are thinking how we can challenge this decision.  It’s a big job.  All ideas welcome.

94 comments on “On Pike”

  1. One Anonymous Knucklehead 1

    Douglas, Prebble, Goff, Shipley, Bolger and the rest of the neo-liberal “high trust model” enablers should be in the dock with them.

    We have to end the experiment.

  2. blue leopard (Get Lost GCSB Bill) 2

    Hi Helen Kelly,

    I really like this article and your work however I have read this phrase:
    “Everyone wins here except the families and most importantly except the men killed in the mine.” in a number of articles relating to this issue today.

    I thoroughly disagree with this.

    A lot of people lose out with the way this issue is going.
    We need to be able to trust that everything is being done to ensure our workplaces are safe.
    This outcome, to me, ensures that a whole lot of mismanagement – incompetence – by government departments and owners of businesses – are not incurring the penalties needed to ensure that far more care is being taken in the future.

    Therefore more people than the families directly involved in this avoidable disaster are being adversely affected by this outcome.

    Infact, I’d even go so far to say that it is undermining to our very system. This is making future politicians and judiciaries work a whole lot more difficult because many [more] people are simply going to lose trust that they know or care what they are doing. The more disenchanted people become the less effectively our system functions.

    This system depends on trust and a whole lot is being lost over the piss-poor, disgraceful way that this issue is being treated.

    • helen kelly 2.1

      You are right – by everyone – I mean everyone possibly implicated – the people of NZ miss out as well.

      • blue leopard (Get Lost GCSB Bill) 2.1.1

        I hope you make that very clear in future because I think a lot of people don’t make these important connections for themselves. (Too busy etc) …and there are important connections between what is going on for these families and all workers especially those who work in dangerous industries…[of course I know you know that...just think its a connection the general public may omit to make unless it is spelled out to them]

        • thechangeling 2.1.1.1

          There’s also a whole host of other connections I think the general public don’t get over other workplace rights attacks such as employers not having to conclude collective bargaining for example, because what it does once the collectives expire, is it puts those workers onto ‘take it or leave it’ individual contracts (Employment Contracts Act 1991 all over again) that are always heavily biased towards the employer.
          This power imbalance between worker and employer leads to the employer doing everything in their power to maximise production and/or efficiency at the cost of worker health and safety leading to worker fatigue, accidents and more worker turnover, temporary contract, untrained staffs etc etc, and with no worker input or redress to stand up for the problems that will keep evolving in workplaces under employment contracts that don’t offer any serious worker input for improving the workplace and its’ systems.

          • blue leopard (Get Lost GCSB Bill) 2.1.1.1.1

            @ theChangeling
            Yes I agree…yet I must make sure its very clear in case I didn’t before…I view Helen Kelly as someone who speaks out very clearly to the public on these very connections! :)

          • One Anonymous Knucklehead 2.1.1.1.2

            “…always heavily biased towards the employer.”

            I think they are biased in favour of the employers’ lawyers and financiers. It’s not like this market-fundamentalist gibberish boosts profits for anyone who produces anything.

  3. Philj 3

    Xox
    You are it Helen! Our legal process has sold out, like most of our rights, subservient to corporate Interests. This is not a democracy any more.

  4. Pike River Disaster is us all

    The NACTs are so far refusing to be shamed into making state corporate and ministries pay court ordered compensation to the Pike River families. After Key’s crocodile tears at the public rally following the disaster, he now claims there is no legal or moral reason to compensate the families. What do you expect? The NACTs crony capitalist regime is speeding up its rip, shit and bust style of plundering Aotearoa’s natural resources. This means privatising land, water, minerals into the hands of crony capitalists, destroying nature and furthering the carbon burning climate collapse of the failing capitalist system.

    The Royal Commission, numerous testaments of miners, crusading journalism like Rebecca Macfie’s book on ‘Tragedy at Pike River Mine’, http://www.nzherald.co.nz/nz/news/article.cfm?c_id=1&objectid=11158015
    and committed working class histories like Paul Maunder’s book ‘Coal and the Coast’ http://accessradio.org/public/programme.php?uid=1381360086-570-18
    put the case beyond reasonable doubt: capitalism rapes nature and chews up and spits out workers and their families in the process so it can make its profits out of their blood and guts.

    What we have said consistently about this disaster is that it is typical of capitalism in its terminal decline and no faith in the bosses’ state or in any of the capitalist parties, NACTs, Labour or Greens will change that. Labour and the unions are part of this retreat into rip, shit and bust. The old miners union has been replaced by the EPMU who are committed to working within the confines of capitalist laws.

    We need to fight like the Red Fed of the early 1900s before the labour movement was co-opted into parliament. The Red Fed was notorious as a federation of labour that put the interests of workers before the bosses’ law. They broke from the IC&A Act – labour’s ‘leg iron’ in the words of Harry Holland – and fought the bosses attempt to break their federation by violent attacks and force them back into the Arbitration Court. This year, 2013 is the 100 anniversary of the 1913 General Strike that signified the defeat of the Red Fed.

    A Red Fed today would be in a very different situation than 100 years ago. As Maunder points out, the capitalist world division of labour has changed. While the NZ economy is still based on extraction and export of raw materials, workers interests do not lie in defending their jobs by the further plunder and destruction of nature. A Red Fed would face climate catastrophe not by fighting for ‘fair shares’ in the destruction of the planet, but by fighting for a new sustainable socialist system in which the working class plans production for our need and not the profits of the 1%. So while the families should get their compensation in this life, the workers need to go on the offensive. The alternative to ongoing destruction of nature and deaths of workers is to rebuild our unions and fight for a Workers’ Government that would socialise the strategic industries without compensation to private owners, and plan production under workers control for a socialist economy.
    http://redrave.blogspot.co.nz/2013/12/class-struggle-107-rape-culture-dirty.html

    • Rogue Trooper 4.1

      +1 of course.

    • Rosie 4.2

      Great comment Red Rattler.

      Just quickly, as an aside, did you notice how under the radar the 100th anniversary commemoration of the 1913 General Strike was?

      Big up’s the the LHP in conjunction with the Wellington Museum of City and Sea for organising talks, history walks and the excellent Parade, complete with Red Fed’s and Massey’s Cossacks on horses on 5th Nov here in Wellington but where were the people? Where was the media coverage?

      And yes, “Tragedy at Pike River Mine” is on the list of must reads.

    • Draco T Bastard 4.3

      +1

      We have to stop trying to produce as much as possible and start to only produce what we need. International trading, instead of being the driver of efficiency is, as a matter of fact, the driver of the destruction of our environment through over-use of resources and, eventually, our society through lack of resources because we’ve sold them all.

  5. Colonial Viper 5

    This is more like it. And specifically

    A Red Fed would face climate catastrophe not by fighting for ‘fair shares’ in the destruction of the planet, but by fighting for a new sustainable socialist system in which the working class plans production for our need and not the profits of the 1%.

    Excellent. You’re taking about bringing about a new vision to the people and a new system here, not just putting comforting sticky plasters on the current system which is taking us over an environmental cliff, at speed.

    We need to fight like the Red Fed of the early 1900s before the labour movement was co-opted into parliament. The Red Fed was notorious as a federation of labour that put the interests of workers before the bosses’ law. They broke from the IC&A Act – labour’s ‘leg iron’ in the words of Harry Holland

    Yep – fighting on a battlefield set up and conditioned by your enemy is a lost cause from the start.

    This year, 2013 is the 100 anniversary of the 1913 General Strike that signified the defeat of the Red Fed.

    This is worth reflecting on. Organised labour has almost always lost (or at best, grudgingly held even) in a big confrontation with capital.

    The alternative to ongoing destruction of nature and deaths of workers is to rebuild our unions and fight for a Workers’ Government that would socialise the strategic industries

    Not keen on a centralised “workers’ govt.” It has to be democratic and it has to be decentralised. And most enterprises can and should still be privately owned businesses – as long as the ownership and the decision making was democratic.

    And frankly, many workers nowadays are either not capable or not interested in being business owners themselves. There would be a lot of upskilling and mentoring required.

    • Draco T Bastard 5.1

      This is worth reflecting on. Organised labour has almost always lost (or at best, grudgingly held even) in a big confrontation with capital.

      Yeah, there’s a reason for that. Ownership and control of the nations resources and businesses means that capital has all the power. This ownership model needs to be addressed along with the banking system.

      And most enterprises can and should still be privately owned businesses…

      Nope. The capitalist ownership model is, IMO, the major problem with capitalism and you can’t bring about socialism while maintaining it as it will still give power and wealth to the owners. The businesses should be self-owned or not owned at all while being controlled by the workers.

      And frankly, many workers nowadays are either not capable or not interested in being business owners themselves.

      Who said that they have a choice?

      • Colonial Viper 5.1.1

        Many are not interested Draco. Lots of people who would prefer to do their job, get a regular pay and go home without the responsibility and hassle of being a business owner.

        Nope. The capitalist ownership model is, IMO, the major problem with capitalism

        First recognise that there are many models of capitalism available.

        • Draco T Bastard 5.1.1.1

          Lots of people who would prefer to do their job, get a regular pay and go home without the responsibility and hassle of being a business owner.

          Under present conditions that may be true but we’re looking at changing the conditions. People may be more interested being part of the governing of the business under a cooperative than under the present hierarchical systems.

          First recognise that there are many models of capitalism available.

          But there isn’t. Private ownership and control is the heart of capitalism. There may be a few differences on the edges (representative democracy compared to the absolute rule in feudalism) but that doesn’t make capitalism any different. The end result is the same – poverty for the many and untold wealth for the few.

          • Colonial Viper 5.1.1.1.1

            The capitalism of SME’s and local family owned businesses is very different to the capitalism of trans-national capital and TBTF, draco.

            • Draco T Bastard 5.1.1.1.1.1

              No it’s not because it must result in accumulation of wealth into the hands of the few which allows them to appropriate the communities wealth. The accumulation is exponential.

              Trans-national capital started as SME and family businesses.

              • Colonial Viper

                That process can be delayed for a couple of centuries using appropriate regulatory mechanisms.

              • ghostrider888

                You know, there are other economies (not a pleasant word the way it has evolved, What does it serve when you can gaze upon the myriad views that now critique, distort or defend effectively ‘legitimised insanity’). Good Lord, is it Hard Times all over? What about Dicken’s portrayal of people whose existence depended on sifting through chimney ash- not a lot to differentiate from the logical extreme conclusion of the opposite political polarity (lovely word polarity)
                and Who / Whom ever made the Louis XVI / jester image, just Marvellous .
                :-D :-D :-D

  6. Sanctuary 6

    If you’ve got enough money, you can get away with murder. Welcome to John Key’s New Zealand. It makes me sick.

  7. ghostwhowalksnz 7

    Helen is right on the point here-

    “they must have been poorly laid, poorly investigated and again point to a lack of capacity and rigour in the Department.’

    So The families are doubly victimised, first by the departments practically no existent oversight of the mine operation and then secondly by the botched court case ( the defence lawyers critique is withering)

    I also notice the Chief Executive of MOBIE had his appearance before parliament last week, no doubt timed so that this gross incompetence couldnt be scrutinized.

  8. Rogue Trooper 8

    “The power of the Crown, almost dead and rotten as Prerogative, has grown up anew, with much more strength, and far less odium under the name of Influence”.- Edmund Burke : Thoughts on the cause of the Present Discontents .(1770) p.10

    “The influence of the Crown has increased, is increasing, and ought to be diminished”. -John Dunning (Baron Ashburton) Resolution passed in the House of Commons, 6 April 1780′ in Parliamentary History of England (T.C Hansard, 1814) vol. 21, col.347.

    “Money doesn’t talk, it swears”. -Dylan ‘It’s Alright Ma (I’m Only Bleeding)’ (1965).

  9. Rosie 9

    Thank you Helen, and thank you for the work you do.

    I’ve often wondered how much more the families of the victims of the Pike River Mine disaster can take. I really thought the govt turning their back of them and not compensating them would be the final straw. It is unbearable that they have to face something so shocking and insulting yet again.

    The way the deaths of these men has been handled is the most despicable act of cruelty, cowardice and indifference I have seen levelled at working people in my life, here in NZ. My eyes have never been shut to the way a government, company or corporation can wheedle their way out of responsibility, but this is the worst. The victims are victims over and over again.

  10. vto 10

    The only option is a General Strike.

    Fucking tory scum bastards.

    Strike!

    • Rosie 10.1

      oh well vto, The right to go on general strike is illegal in this country. Handy eh?

      And Simon Bridges, he is pure evil, pure scum. Not even Key has the malicious intent that he does. There is something very very wrong with that man. Seriously.

      • vto 10.1.1

        hmmm, you sound like you know him a bit. Interesting observation.

        And is that correct that it is illegal to go on a General Strike? If so – who fucking cares? We should call a general strike regardless. Civil disobedience. Fuck the law. 29 men have been killed by the employment laws ffs ….. why would anyone have respect for the law in this area?

        • Rosie 10.1.1.1

          “hmmm, you sound like you know him a bit. Interesting observation”

          Lol. It doesn’t take too many observation skills to see what Bridges is about. Look at those sociopathic lying eyes of his, that anger and hatred simmering away below the surface, the way he speaks, the words so hard to get out, like his conscience is at war with his horrid personality.

          And then there’s the deeds to back it up. Bans protesting at sea, protesting! Which is a ban of our fundamental human rights. Writes draconian new employment law which hasn’t passed yet but will do next year. Has a petulant childish meltdown on the Campbell live show.

          As for striking, and maybe Helen if she has a chance can clarify or correct, striking is allowed on only two occasions in NZ. At a time when employment contract negotiations break down between workers and their employer – this is a formal process too, the workers or the Union representing them needs to give written notice to the employer to do so. The other time is when the workplace is considered to be an immediate danger to the health or safety of the workers. Workers can withdraw their labour at this point.

          And sadly vto, what has always bugged me was why did the miners not strike over unsafe work conditions at Pike River when they knew about them? Did they not have the support of their union, the EPMU to do so? Or did they do so already and its not widely known?

          I say that with the deepest respect and am not questioning the fact that the fault fully lies with the employer. These miners were victims of a broken safety system and a profit at any cost attitude. I often wonder if they felt that they couldn’t strike due to the oppresissve nature of the management.

          If that is the case, that adds another layer of shame upon our Government and Solid Energy.

      • Draco T Bastard 10.1.2

        The right to go on general strike is illegal in this country.

        Rules are made to be broken – especially when they enforce injustice.

        • Rosie 10.1.2.1

          Drax, I empathise with your statement but can you really imagine the whole country downing tools in support of the Miners memories and their families when in 2013, as workers we are far removed and distanced from the concept of it solidarity?

          The neolib agenda has bred selfishness and indifference in the population – it’s every worker for themselves in non unionised workplaces. The move from collective unity and strength to achieve and organise to individual self care doesn’t foster a sense of sacrifice for the sake of others.

          If an event like going on General Strike, illegally, in support of the Miners was to proceed it would need major backing and commitment from from the workers of this country – how would that happen when people are too exhausted from excessive work hours, poor pay, ill health and too disillusioned to care?

          Every day I receive email updates about workers struggle’s around the planet. It’s depressing reading. There are many that take greater risks than we would ever dream of here, and lose their lives for making a stand. (Eg, the latest death I read about was a Colombian Union leader who was shot by the military just for organising a site)

          The main difference I see between NZer’s and people from countries that have even more tenuous working conditions than ours is the will to act. The will to act has been bred out of us over the last 30 years.

          • Paul 10.1.2.1.1

            Because the Labour Party was the one that enacted the neoliberal nightmare.
            It’s hard to fight when it’s your own leaders that betray you.

          • Rogue Trooper 10.1.2.1.2

            Excellent Rosie, get those ya ya’s out!

  11. vto 11

    Judge Farish has been on my watch list for some time. She has a record of dubious judgments, emotion and tangentiality. She needs to stand down.

  12. vto 12

    Private prosecution.

    Bring on Sir Graham McCreadie.

  13. vto 13

    Minister of Labour Simon Bridges not commenting…?

    What a weak cowardly piece of piss-shit….

    This entire government is utterly unbelievable. They stink to the core. They are rotten to the core.

    I loathe them

    • Paul 13.1

      They are the puppets of the corporates

      • vto 13.1.1

        Yeah, well it is time to start fighting harder. Time to expose who funds them, who directs them, what their conversations are, who they play footsies with. Time for heavier accusations. Time to call them out.

        I loathe them. On a personal level. Because it is all intensely personal. Make no mistake – the link is direct.

        • Paul 13.1.1.1

          OK..let’s start
          Goff
          Who sponsors his support of the TPP?
          Jones
          Who sponsors his support of big oil?

          • vto 13.1.1.1.1

            Q1, don’t know. Q2, don’t know, probably corporate tangata whenua – same as for big fishing and the scum that they are.

            What was Lord Ashcroft meeting with John Key for? What was their conversation about?

            How much money gets paid by dairy interest to the National Party, and why? Is that why they fucking stole our democracy and shit in our water?

  14. vto 14

    New Zealand is fucking corrupt.

    Bribes and backhanders and inside knowledge come up in conversation like you wouldn’t believe in the Chch rebuild. Imagine it doesn’t go on elsewhere and hasn’t in the past? Fool

    Our leader is the biggest liar in the land. Even his own Nat party members think so.

    It is a fucking joke and the sooner we naïve heads-in-the-clouds kiwis wake up to this reality the better.

  15. RedBaronCV 15

    “When people get up and go to work in the morning they have the right to return to their homes at the end of the day.”

    So money that could have and should have been paid voluntarily by any number of parties culpable in the Pike River disaster, has been withheld and used to pay off thefamilies after criminal prosecution of those allegedly responsible has been dropped.
    How sick is that – the families have a right to be incensed.

    So now we have a country where the politicians can influence legal action if it suits their favourite corporate. Isn’t the first time this has happened under Nact either. Remember a few Xmas’s back when they suddenly stepped in and took over from the IRD and settled the amount for the billions the Banks owed the IRD after a succesful tax prosecution. Most taxpayers don’t get to negotiate with Cabinet if the IRD successfully prosecutes them.

  16. adam 16

    This is the elites just looking after there own. Once again working people have nothing in common with the rich white plutocrats who run this country. Scum knew it was unsafe and still he ordered men down the mine – I hope he chokes on a chip in Fiji soon!

  17. Philj 17

    Xox
    I would like to say you are exaggerating VTO. But alas, to our mutual shame, you are right on the money.
    Roll on the revolution. Nothing less!

  18. adam 18

    You want ideas – how about the unions walk away from the labour party. How about the fact that labour party has stopped representing the interests of working people, I know all you stall warts here will come rushing to there defense. Because labour didn’t do bugger all to improve worker safety in the 9 years they had in office, indeed they laid the ground work for this disaster.

    So if labour shaft working people again , what are you lot going to do – rub your hands together and say – well, at least there better than national.

    I’m bloody sick of people dying going to work – I’m sick to death of the pass the buck culture that has seemed to set in, and I’m bloody sick of so called lefties to scared to call the white elites in this country to task – no matter what f&^king party they are in. Phil Goff and co in labour are traitors to working people and I hope they go down in history as the scum sucking leaches that they are.

    • infused 18.1

      The most sensible comment here.

      • greywarbler 18.1.1

        infused
        You show your anti left direction with that remark. You would just like to stick one into the left wouldn’t you. You nasty, divisive, poisonous little RW troll.

  19. tricledrown 19

    Orders came from the highest level not to prosecute so we are told .
    Was that Mobie dickhead joyce!
    Or please standup shonky memory.
    $300 million wasted
    29 men wasted
    Following the freemarkets selfregulation

    • Will@Welly 19.1

      So what has Finlayson got to say about this? He is, after all, the Attorney General. It’s a black mark on his character as well, and he won’t like that. Fussy little bastard. Once he realises he’s been implicated as well, he’ll be squealing.

  20. Will@Welly 20

    vto – nice to see someone with a bit of fire in their belly. worth bottling. +100% !!

  21. Corokia 21

    If you have a strong stomach, read Homepaddock on this issue. The author is a Nat bigwig and its an insight in to their warped world view where the families are accused of being illogical due to grief, because they want justice and all commentary otherwise is just political posturing.

    • vto 21.1

      People like this need speaking to in very strong terms person to person when discussing such things. The heat must be turned up on these ugly ugly ways. Had one such conversation with a staunch Nat party member recently. Methinks they are well aware of their shortcomings but pride gets in the way of acknowledgment. Press it. Press them. Push hard. They will bend eventually (after they get routed next election).

      • greywarbler 21.1.1

        vto
        Most of them, never. They are masterful (he embracing she) proponents of the art of rationalisation and blinkered individualism and materialism. You don’t get to where they have got to, by being a panty-waist (whatever that term means) and worrying about every little injury that happens in life. After all you can’t make an omelette without breaking eggs. And a few humans losing their legs, arms, life, in the drive to make Big Money is just unfortunate collateral damage.

    • blue leopard (Get Lost GCSB Bill) 21.2

      @ Corokia

      I wouldn’t have imagined that there were people out there justifying the tragically incompetent way this issue is being dealt with and yours is a very interesting comment providing insight into the illogical mindset of such … creatures (can’t quite bring myself to refer to them as people).

      It seems to be a trend that those committing crimes against our society (high profile politicians in the west) keep labelling their opponents with labels that most suit themselves… in this case those seeking justice are called ‘illogical’ whereas the name-callers are being just that.

      Another example Key calling a variety of protesters ‘rent-a-crowd’ when it is him that is prostituting himself to the highest bidder (no-principles-here-zone).

      I keep noticing this and it is occurring a lot

      It appears to be a very effective way of not taking responsibility, warping public opinion and obstructing public demand that any ‘actor’ is held to account.

  22. Carol Rose , part of the ‘secretariat’ for the families has just been on Morning Report.

    She was very articulate about the failure of the government and justice system and highlighted that Peter Whittall gets off ‘scot-free’ – no charges to face, has paid nothing personally towards compensation (it’s from the insurance company).

    She didn’t mince words. Spoke of the compensation being tempting for some families but that taking it would leave a bad taste in the mouth.

  23. Corokia 23

    Someone should be checking that the overseas witnesses have actually refused to come and testify.

    • vto 23.1

      overseas witnesses = cowards

      peter whittall = coward

      all the directors = cowards

      John Dow = coward

      weak men

      the workers = courageous

      how surprising

    • Molly 23.2

      Time to give international corporations an accountability spokesperson in each country that they operate in. If they want to have all the privileges and legal protections of a human in the form of a legal entity – then they need to provide a representative entity that can be prosecuted and put in jail.

      Let’s propose that companies like Andarko nominate one/all of their executives/board to be the go-to/prosecution target if there is a major oil spill in NZ. Remind them that if a spill occurs they personally will be prosecuted for pollution and for the cost of cleanup, and their personal assets are liable. We have some SERCO jails getting prepared for them as we speak.

      … we may be surprised at just how fast Andarko decides it is not worth the risk.

      • Arfamo 23.2.1

        They’d probably just create a position, recruit some homeless person into that role and pay them in pies.

        • Molly 23.2.1.1

          Thought of that. A stooge clause would ensure that anybody using this method is automatically given twice the sentence – and the stooge – gets whistleblower status.

          • Arfamo 23.2.1.1.1

            Now you have to get such legislation drafted and engineered through an political system that is so well-connected and in thrall to big business it will kill it before it spawns.

      • Draco T Bastard 23.2.2

        Let’s propose that companies like Andarko nominate one/all of their executives/board…

        But they won’t – they’ll nominate some fall guy somewhere. Just need to write into law that they will be held accountable along with Anadarko – no more limited liability.

  24. Bill 24

    MoBIE isn’t independent of the government, is it? And MoBIE was central to charges being dropped, yes? And just being realistic on Nationals re-election prospects with a Pike River trial all over the media….hmm. Meanwhile, wonder who thought that throwing 3.4 million dollars at people would put a lid on things? Would take a very particular and peculiar mentality to come up with that one as ‘cover’, would it not?

  25. greywarbler 25

    If the charges could not be made to stick then it is my view, they must have been poorly laid, poorly investigated and again point to a lack of capacity and rigour in the Department. When a Royal Commission finds as strongly as it, systematic failings in management at the mine, the test of failing to “take all practicable steps” in regards health and safety should have been proved.

    Helen’s point here, which I have bolded, is pivotal I think.
    The Government has failed in ensuring that the mine was on a safe site, that was going to be a viable one for a viable business, and that the facts known about the site were the result of full investigation by independent professionals, and properly checked by the Directors under oversight by people in charge of Mines. This for both safety of the site, the business, the preservation of investment money from wastage on a chimera, and of course the safety of the vulnerable workers. It is a situation similar to the collapse of the Christchurch building through lack of proper oversight by a professional, by the checking authority, and unwillingness to go forward with with a building that was capable of withstanding the stresses it could meet. That needed integrity all along the way. The Government has shown lack of integrity in the development of the mine.

    Then the mine was dependent on human miners to work within its environs to bring out the valuable coal. So the Department of Labour should have had close oversight from a man or woman who understood mining problems. If they were not well versed in the problems arising from methane leakage, then they should have been able to call in expert advice. The Government appears to have had little concern for the miners safety, and good work practices.
    Basically their attitude seems to be ‘Easy come, easy go’. A few crocodile tears then back to their comfy offices and count expenses incurred in settling the matter as cheaply as possible, as part of the payout for the deaths resulting from the explosion.

    Then there is the situation of having legal work done on this highly technical yet human disaster, by someone who it seems has done an inadequate job, the evidence relying too much on hearsay apparently. This person looks as if he/she has been set up to fail. This indicates a very poorly run, inefficient Government department/entity.

    Then there is the situation of not being able to get statements signed or witnesses to attend.
    Why has the Government not got the powers to subpoena, demand, threaten such people to
    answer questions and give an account that explains the explosion? There should be laws that can’t be evaded. If such people can’t be coerced into answering questions by attending if in NZ then they should be put on a criminal charge. If overseas if they won’t return they should then have to submit to being cross-examined by video from a legally acceptable site there.
    How come Peter Whitall is taking all the heat when Gordon Ward was big in the company till two months before the explosion? And this Gordon has chosen not to come back and give evidence. What sort of pussies run this country? There must be a conniving approach in Government that will allow such businesspeople to escape their responsibilities and instead of insisting they obey the demands of a strong and responsible justice system, they get a tap on the wrist with a bloody ‘bus ticket’

    Then there is the appearance of back room deals, only cleaner than any other dodgy past ones, because they aren’t from smoke-filled rooms, which used to be the expression. The only smoke now doesn’t come from tobacco, it’s the smoke and mirrors of those artful professional legerdemain exponents receiving the largesse of Big Business which includes the Government of the NACTs. Just another case of power without responsibility, if there is a loss, let others bear it.

    • greywarbler 25.1

      Oh great, just when I needed to edit, the function disappears. I should have said Gordon Ward, in the penultimate para Not Gordon Brown. Damn. If moderator is out there maybe you would correct to make it right please.

      [Bill: Fixed it for you.]
      Thanks Bill – have just repositioned the correction nearer to where I should have placed it. Otherwise it is not going to be noticed.
      Could I ask you to delete the one lower down 27 I think. Bit annoying, sorry.

  26. Clifford Pain 26

    PAT A CAKE PAT A CAKE MINING MAN

    MAKE ME A COAL MINE FAST AS YOU CAN

    FINANCE AND DIG IT WITH GOVERNMENT AID

    AND NEVER LET RISK MAKE YOU AFRAID

    NEVER LET HISTORY MAKE YOU AFRAID.

    http://www.nfb.ca/film/westray

    This is a film about working people everywhere whose lives are often entrusted to companies that violate the most fundamental rules of safety and decency in the name of profit.

    • greywarbler 26.1

      Clifford Pain
      You have a rhyme with a message there. I understand that many of these old rhymes like Pat a Cake actually were political satire. Great to carry on the tradition.

  27. greywarbler 27

    [Bill: Fixed it for you. And duplicate comment deleted as requested]

  28. The first thing we can all do is share Helen’s excellent analysis via Facebook and Twitter. Share it far and wide so others can read it.

    Perhaps those who support this rotten government and the system of delegated responsibility may think twice before voting in 2014.

  29. Alma Rae 29

    I have never understood why s156 of the Crimes Act 1961 has not been applied in this case:

    156Duty of persons in charge of dangerous things
    Every one who has in his charge or under his control anything whatever, whether animate or inanimate, or who erects, makes, operates, or maintains anything whatever, which, in the absence of precaution or care, may endanger human life is under a legal duty to take reasonable precautions against and to use reasonable care to avoid such danger, and is criminally responsible for the consequences of omitting without lawful excuse to discharge that duty.

    Surely a mine would qualify as “anything whatever” and a CEO would be legally in charge of it?

    • Rogue Trooper 29.1

      AR , the bee-keeper and the DF constructed bridge.

    • Colonial Viper 29.2

      Surely a mine would qualify as “anything whatever” and a CEO would be legally in charge of it?

      Not a mine mate, a ventilation/extraction system, as well as safety/escape infrastructure.

  30. greywarbler 30

    Alma Rae
    The legislation seems fit for the purpose! Applied properly it would relieve the intractable, supposed, problem surely.

  31. bad12 31

    A cowardly connivance in the utmost of despicable forms, words in the English language are simply not sufficient to portray the betrayal of the ‘Pike River families’ by the New Zealand Justice system better described as a system of Injustice,

    For anyone of us to now not believe that there are two forms of Law which operate through the system in this country where the ‘haves’ get preferential treatment while the ‘have not’s’ get jail or a kick in the guts would require a form of blindness or delusion which i simply fail to comprehend,

    Does anyone have any real belief that the decision not to prosecute the architect of the disasterous Pike River mine did not involve Ministers of the current Government and such a connivance of convenience had not been well thought out befor-hand so as to announce the Court’s decision after the Parliament rose for the year and will not sit again until well into the New Year,

    The ‘Litany’ of Lies continued yesterday as first reports suggested that Whittal was to fund the 3.4 million dollar ‘Blood-money’ offer to the Pike River families from an insurance policy which He had specifically to cover the costs of court action taken against Him or public indemnity insurance He personally held,

    Did the Court ask for proof of this ‘insurance policy’, like hell they did, and today in the face of out-rage and questioning ‘the story’ has been subtly changed to one of Whittal and former directors of pike River having stumped up the cash for such an offer,

    Helen Kelly of the CTU has suggested that a Judicial Review be sought on the decision to drop all charge against Whittal and i would recommend that the CTU persue this as a means of not only continuing the fight for Justice for the Pike River Families but also searching for the evidence of just who in the current Government had a hand in the dropping of criminal charges,

    IF, the offer of the 3.4 million dollars of compensation comes ‘without strings’ i would urge the Pike River families to take the money and put it to use privately prosecuting Whittal, or as something of some good must come from this whole fetid mess, take the money and use it to form the basis for a ‘higher education fund’ for kids on the Coast…

  32. Don Franks 32

    “We are thinking how we can challenge this decision. It’s a big job. All ideas welcome”

    The courts are theirs.

    The job sites and the streets are theirs too, but unlike the courts, they can, with effort, be made ours.

    On the job sites and in the streets is where we should challenge this decision.

    • Rogue Trooper 32.1

      Excellent. They got nothin’ , no respect; can only spin sh*t for so long really, I mean, Education? ffs.

  33. ghostrider888 33

    Health? Who do you think you are fooling Tony Ryall? Really? Listen to the Health Committee Report on investing in the upcoming generation, otherwise you’ll all be regretting it later; The census is out.

  34. Colonial Viper 34

    Helen Kelly just tweeted “we have been misled”

    Charges weren’t withdrawn agst whittal. Crown wld not provide evidence & invited judge 2 discharge. He was discharged. We hav been misled.

    This is the beginning of the end for this Government. (Fast work draco)

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    Greens | 29-10
  • Ports must take responsibility for shameful death toll
    Port companies must step up and take responsibility for a shameful toll of seven deaths and 133 serious accidents in the past three years, Labour MP Iain Lees-Galloway says. The frightening figures – released by the Rail, Maritime and Transport...
    Labour | 29-10
  • Please help me get my Feed the Kids Bill to Select Committee
    Last week I took over the Feed the Kids Bill that Hone Harawira had introduced to Parliament. If passed, my Bill will provide government-funded breakfast and lunch in all decile 1 and 2 schools. Hungry kids can’t learn and are...
    Greens | 29-10
  • TVNZ Outsourcing Pasifika and Maori Programmes
    I’ve always been a big fan of our state broadcaster and I’ve particularly liked their range of current events programmes. But after Friday’s announcement that TVNZ will be sacking up to 40 staff by contracting out the Pacific and Maori...
    Greens | 29-10
  • Labour urges iwi leaders to meet with National
    Labour’s Māori Caucus has called on iwi leaders and national Māori organisations to seek urgent meetings with the National Government to directly express their concerns about employment law changes which will harm Māori workers. In an open letter sent today...
    Labour | 29-10
  • ACC’s reputation needs fix, not glitz
    Restoring public trust and confidence in ACC will take a lot more than a new communications strategy or social media blitz, says Labour’s ACC spokesperson Iain Lees-Galloway. “Under National, ACC has come to be perceived as insensitive, difficult to deal...
    Labour | 29-10
  • Lessons to be learned from police investigation
    The outcome of the so-called Roast Busters case should not put victims off reporting sexual crimes, Labour’s Acting Deputy Leader Annette King says. “This case has been mishandled from the start. Within days of police initially saying no charges had...
    Labour | 29-10
  • Anti-worker legislation is anti-Pacifica
    The Minister for Pacific Peoples, Peseta Sam Lotu-Iiga, will go down in history as being part of a Government that harmed his own people through anti-worker legislation, says Labour’s Pacific Island Affairs spokesperson Su’a William Sio.  “Pacific people are among...
    Labour | 29-10
  • Five-year tax holiday for overseas tax dodgers
    National has just gifted a five-year tax holiday for foreign companies dodging their tax payments, says Revenue spokesperson David Clark. “Todd McClay has pretended he is doing something about overseas companies dodging their tax duties by joining an international initiative...
    Labour | 29-10
  • Traffic Jam Tax must be given the red light
    Auckland Council’s proposed Traffic Jam Tax could cost some households thousands of dollars a year just to use roads they had already paid for with their taxes and must be rejected, says Labour’s transport and Auckland Issues spokesperson Phil Twyford....
    Labour | 29-10
  • National has chance to show leadership on limos
    The National Party has the opportunity to show leadership by transitioning our vehicle fleet towards renewable electricity when a new contract to supply Government limousines for VIPs goes to tender next month, the Green Party said today. "This is a...
    Greens | 29-10
  • The Māori Party can’t have it both ways over labour laws
    The Māori Party has to fess up over its voting record on the Employment Relations Amendment Bill, says Labour’s Māori Caucus.  “It’s simply not good enough to oppose the bill at the same time  as they helped speed up its progress through...
    Labour | 29-10
  • Equal pay and the aged care sector
    Today the High Court upheld the historic ruling by the Employment Court that our Equal Pay Act could be used to consider work of equal value cases; the government has been telling the UN and ILO that it could for...
    Greens | 29-10
  • Court case perfect opportunity for Government to improve gender pay gap
    If the Government wants to halt New Zealand’s slump in international rankings on the gender pay gap it should act on the court finding that women deserve equal wages, Labour’s Women’s Affairs spokesperson Sue Moroney says. “The World Economic Forum’s...
    Labour | 28-10
  • All Auckland transport options should be considered
    All options for meeting Auckland's transport needs should be considered, including reprioritising the transport budget away from wasteful spending on motorways, the Green Party said today.Auckland mayor Len Brown is today releasing a transport report by the Independent Advisory Board,...
    Greens | 28-10
  • Another report highlights Govt failure on child poverty
    An international report measuring the impact of the Global Financial Crisis (GFC) on child poverty rates, showing children in New Zealand have done worse than children in other countries, is further proof the Government needs to urgently take additional steps...
    Greens | 28-10
  • Address and Reply Debate Part 55: Inequality and Disability
    I rise on behalf of the Green Party to talk about inequality and disability.The recent census showed that nearly one in four New Zealanders lives with a disability—up from one in five in the previous census. These figures include some...
    Greens | 28-10
  • Address and Reply Debate Part 55: Inequality and Disability
    I rise on behalf of the Green Party to talk about inequality and disability.The recent census showed that nearly one in four New Zealanders lives with a disability—up from one in five in the previous census. These figures include some...
    Greens | 28-10
  • Child poverty: No more wake-up calls
    A new report which shows the National Government has made no inroads whatsoever into child poverty should do more than just set alarm bells ringing, Labour’s Acting Deputy Leader Annette King says. “UNICEF’s  latest Innocenti Report Card highlights the fact...
    Labour | 28-10
  • Eugenie Sage speaks in the 2014 Address in Reply Debate
    I congratulate you, Assistant Speaker Mallard, as Assistant Speaker and look forward to your knowledge, your fairness, and your light touch in being a referee of proceedings in this House. I congratulate also the other Assistant Speaker, Lindsay Tisch; the...
    Greens | 28-10
  • James Shaw’s Maiden Speech
    Tena Koe, Mr Speaker. I would like to take this opportunity to speak a little of the past, the present and the future. The privilege to serve in this Parliament was given to me by all those who gave their...
    Greens | 28-10
  • Govt airs real views on public broadcasting
    An admission by the Government that it is happy to experiment with Pacific and Maori audiences shows just how weak its vision for public broadcasting in New Zealand is, Labour’s Broadcasting spokesperson Kris Faafoi says. “National today admitted it doesn’t...
    Labour | 28-10
  • Does Judith Collins have a get out of jail card?
    Former justice minister Judith Collins appears to have been gifted a get out of jail free card based on the Prime Minister’s answers in Parliament today, Labour’s Acting Deputy Leader Annette King says. “Judith Collins claimed in an Official Information...
    Labour | 28-10
  • Solid Energy decision delay sensible
    Today’s announcement by the Board of Solid Energy that it will delay making a final decision on re-entering the Pike River mine is a sensible move, Labour’s MP for  West Coast-Tasman Damien O’Connor says. “It has been clear for some...
    Labour | 28-10
  • New York Green Bank off to a $1B start
    New York Governor Andrew Cuomo announced late last week the New York Green Bank’s first NZD$1 billion tranche of green energy investments. The projects, which are difficult for the private sector to finance, are now possible by New York Green...
    Greens | 28-10
  • The Final Fifth: The Last Great Task for Progressive New Zealand.
    MOST OF NEW ZEALAND’S social problems are concentrated among those living at the margins of what is otherwise a relatively wealthy society. Recently released international data on child poverty has exposed an acutely stressed social strata encompassing roughly 20 percent...
    The Daily Blog | 31-10
  • Myth Busting Rape Boasters
    In just one week a case that galvanised a nation into discussing rape culture is now being reframed as mischievous teen hi-jinx. One year ago the Roast Busters case came to the attention of the media and the public. This...
    The Daily Blog | 31-10
  • Workers rights weakened by new laws – fightback needed
    The government’s changes to the employment laws are designed to weaken workers bargaining power – at both the individual and collective level.   30-day rule The old law required an employer with a collective agreement in place to employ new...
    The Daily Blog | 31-10
  • GUEST BLOG: Simon Buckingham – Where are Labour Candidates on disability?
    For the few people who know me (hello Mum), I am proudly New Zealand’s first Autistic Spectrum Lawyer, as well as being the very bottom Candidate on the Labour Party List. (64 out of 64). Being honoured like this is...
    The Daily Blog | 31-10
  • GUEST BLOG: Blockade the Budget
    The ‘Independent’ Police Conduct Authority’s report into the policing of student protests in 2012 is a whitewash The report released by the Independent Police Conduct Authority into the policing of student protests in 2012 is a whitewash riddled with inaccuracies....
    The Daily Blog | 30-10
  • When National claim new anti worker laws provide ‘flexibility’ they mea...
    And so it comes to pass. The first law National ram through as part of their victory march are new anti worker laws they pretend will generate ‘flexibility’. The new law denigrate the unions ability to protect workers and provide...
    The Daily Blog | 30-10
  • City Transport: A Taxing Matter
    This week the prospect of paying tolls on Auckland motorways became a hot topic. (See Mathew Dearnaley:Motorway tolling could hit some hard, NZ Herald, 30 Oct 2014.) As we might expect, the kneejerk response has been quite negative. But, as with...
    The Daily Blog | 30-10
  • Open Letter to Amy Adams: Please Reopen The Review Into Sexual Violence Cou...
    Ms Amy Adams, Justice and Courts Minister, Right now in this country it seems that although rape is illegal, it is not being prevented by the agents who uphold the law. It almost feels like rape is only illegal on paper,...
    The Daily Blog | 30-10
  • MEDIA WATCH: Does ‘No-Surprises’ Also Apply To TVNZ News?
    When you stand back and look at NZ media outlets, most of them have at least one or two people who attempt to hold the government to account: John Campbell on TV3, Guyon Espiner and others at Radio NZ, David...
    The Daily Blog | 30-10
  • Things That Make You Go Hmmmmmmm
    Every so often in politics, a public figure comes out with something so absurd and so outlandish … that it really does just make you go “Hmmmmmmmmmm”. We’re accustomed to this from certain quarters – by mid point through the...
    The Daily Blog | 30-10
  • Poverty & inequality don’t need protest marches – they need a riot:...
    The global level of inequality continues to skyrocket… Number of billionaires doubled since financial crisis The number of billionaires has doubled since the start of the financial crisis, according to a major new report from anti-poverty campaigners. According to Oxfam,...
    The Daily Blog | 30-10
  • If Key knows who Rawshark is…
    I’m sorry, what? John Key ‘given Rawshark’s name’The Prime Minister believes he knows who hacked Whale Oil blogger Cameron Slater’s computer and produced the source material for Nicky Hager’s Dirty Politics, according to a new edition of a recently published...
    The Daily Blog | 30-10
  • Child Poverty stats in NZ
    Child Poverty stats in NZ...
    The Daily Blog | 30-10
  • Crimes Act + Police Investigation = WTF
    Just to frame the farce that is the Roastbuster’s investigation and conclusion – here are the parts of the Crime Act http://www.legislation.govt.nz/act/public/1961/0043/latest/whole.html#DLM329057  the Roastbusters are proven to have violated – that the police (and some suspects!) themselves acknowledge occurred: Crimes...
    The Daily Blog | 29-10
  • Publishing Journalists’ Home Addresses Is A Tactic Of The Right, Not The ...
    I think I’m starting to get rather annoyed with the conduct of some pro-MANA people over this ongoing Parliamentary Services crew complement issue. Yes, we get that there are legitimate issues to be raised with how some political reporters in...
    The Daily Blog | 29-10
  • Aucklanders caught between a tarseal-addicted government and a weak mayor
    Len Brown’s proposal for motorway tolls to reduce congestion and provide funding for better public transport is a weak response to a critical issue. The $12 billion dollar shortfall on transport funding he talks about is mainly for projected new...
    The Daily Blog | 29-10
  • A Very Weird Story: Deconstructing Darren Aronofsky’s Noah.
    NOAH is a curious movie. Conceived as a biblical epic, it’s target audience was originally the millions of Americans who regard the Bible as God’s inerrant word. With the sin-filled works of Hollywood forbidden to these true-believers, Christian movie-makers have developed...
    The Daily Blog | 29-10
  • You Can Get Away With Rape In New Zealand
    Jessie Hume with last years petition against rape     The police have sent a strong message today.  In fact they’ve been sending a strong message for a while; a message that our government supports. “You can literally get away...
    The Daily Blog | 29-10
  • Roast Buster case – no charges. In the immortal words of NWA…
    Roast Busters case: No prosecutions Police are to make an announcement this afternoon on Operation Clover, the investigation into the “Roast Busters” allegations. The Herald understands the victim has been told that the alleged offenders will not be prosecuted due...
    The Daily Blog | 29-10
  • Key’s flag change distraction to cost $26million!
    No. Way. Bid to change NZ flag to cost millions The cost of holding two referendums and consulting on a change of flag has been estimated to be just under $26 million. Look. We all appreciate that the sleepy hobbits...
    The Daily Blog | 29-10
  • Why NZ Herald’s Labour Party crocodile tears are so audacious
    The front page the NZ Herald would use if they thought they could get away with it No one can take the recent columns by NZ Herald seriously… John Armstrong: Shadow lingers on National John Roughan: Labour’s leadership vote matters...
    The Daily Blog | 28-10
  • The beginning of the end of Cameron Slater?
    Slater postings on man bizarre, court told A businessman has changed his appearance and had to install extra security at his home after Whale Oil blogger Cameron Slater posted his business and personal documents online, he says. Mr Slater has...
    The Daily Blog | 28-10
  • We are a milk power republic and Fonterra our unelected senate
    Wow. Just wow… Deputy mayor says he’ll be sacked South Taranaki deputy mayor Alex Ballantyne says he expects to be sacked because he has spoken out about the impact gasses coming from dumped Fonterra dairy products have had on his...
    The Daily Blog | 28-10
  • MEDIA WATCH: “…But *actually* this is about ethics in political-game jo...
    Yesterday, a piece of mine on the recent revelations about Hone Harawira employing several gentlemen either accused or convicted of sex offences was published on The Daily Blog. Predictably, given the fierce loyalty which Hone inspires in his party faithful and...
    The Daily Blog | 28-10
  • Privilege cheque
    There was no race problem in my childhood. Living in central Wellington I was well-insulated from what was going on not so far away. This was the 60s and 70s, where the teachers enjoyed free love in the staff room...
    The Daily Blog | 28-10
  • A brief word on Key’s claim that it will be raining carnage
    Isis will ‘rain carnage on the world’ – John Key Left unchecked Isis would “rain carnage on the world”, Prime Minister John Key says, but he has yet to make a decision on whether New Zealand troops will join a...
    The Daily Blog | 28-10
  • Meanwhile…
    ...
    The Daily Blog | 27-10
  • How does Andrew Little win Labour Leadership and unify the caucus?
    Audrey Young’s excellent column on how the Caucus vote  is shaping up shows how Andrew Little becomes the next leader of the Labour Party. She identifies the factions as the following… Andrew Little 6: Andrew Little, David Cunliffe, Iain Lees Galloway,...
    The Daily Blog | 27-10
  • GUEST BLOG: Joe Trinder – Right of response to Curwen
    You have asked that Hone Harawira deserves to explain what happened, how would he explain when his next door neighbour is an alleged sex offender. What explanation can Hone offer he wasn’t involved, Hone had no idea this offending was...
    The Daily Blog | 27-10
  • MEDIA WATCH: That Hella-Weird Feeling When You Defend Tova O’Brien
    Oh dear. Yesterday morning I blogged that Hone deserved a chance to explain what exactly had happened as applies his office’s Parliamentary Services crew complement – and, importantly, that we deserve to be able to judge him on the strength of...
    The Daily Blog | 27-10
  • Canadian Green MP warns against harsh anti-terror measures
    Canada’s Green Party has provided a welcome counterpoint to Prime Minister Harper’s call for tougher anti-terrorism laws in the wake of a soldier outside the Canadian Parliament. On October 22, while she was still locked in her parliamentary office, Green...
    The Daily Blog | 27-10
  • When is an asset sale not an asset sale? When it robs from the poor and ste...
    National have turned state housing on its head. At no time during the 2014 election did the Key Government even hint that they were going to privatise 30% of the Housing NZ stock of state homes. Not once. Key even...
    The Daily Blog | 27-10
  • Housing; broken promises, families in cars, and ideological idiocy (Part To...
    . . Continued from: Housing; broken promises, families in cars, and ideological idiocy (Part Rua) . Bill English comes clean on National’s intentions for HNZ privatisation . On 14 October, in a report on The Daily Blog, I wrote, In...
    The Daily Blog | 27-10
  • The Questions Have Been Asked – They Deserve An Answer
    A few days ago, allegations that had been percolating for some time about Hone Harawira employing three either accused or convicted sex offenders on his Parliamentary pay-roll came to light. (one imprisoned before working for MANA; one who found himself convicted and...
    The Daily Blog | 26-10
  • I have seen one future, and it is bleak
    . . Back in  March 2012, I wrote this story regarding a march to support striking workers at Ports of Auckland. It appears there was some prescience about some of my observations at the time… . | | 18 March...
    The Daily Blog | 26-10
  • US air strike war Key wants us in has killed a civilian a day so far
      The US air strike war that John Key wants us to join has killed a civilian a day so far. From the Washington Post... The United States launched its first airstrikes on militants in Syria on Sept. 23, and has continued...
    The Daily Blog | 26-10
  • The instant Jihad syndrome
    My favourite new term is ‘self-radicalised’ – it suggests the reasons for terrorism are totally divorced from the actions of the West. This need to suddenly ramp up terror laws because of lone wolf, self-radicalised Jihadists seems convenient and counter-productive....
    The Daily Blog | 25-10
  • We have nothing to fear from Ebola but fear itself
    I suspect most Americans perceive Ebola like this   I can’t work out if the fear being spread within the media about Ebola is deliberate or just ignorance. Yes Ebola is a terrible plague that kills a large percentage of...
    The Daily Blog | 25-10
  • GUEST BLOG: Anjum Rahman – “Meritocracy? I wish.”
    I’d like to start by linking to a post I had published at another site in support of Nanaia Mahuta for the Labour Party leadership election.  She has a reasonable chance, given that she already has the endorsement of Te...
    The Daily Blog | 25-10
  • Chocolate milk shortage and creepy Santa? Let’s talk about real news
    Child poverty is still a scarily serious problem in this country and house prices are soaring through the roof to the point where it is simply impossible for the average New Zealander to buy a home. There is also little...
    The Daily Blog | 25-10
  • It’s time to celebrate Kiwi schools and teachers
    Some would have you believe that New Zealand’s schools are in a state of collapse, that your children are not being educated well and that things are going to hell in a hand basket.  That there is no innovation, no...
    The Daily Blog | 25-10
  • Ideological Blitzkrieg – Privatization of state housing, more charter sch...
    Pundits in pundit land will tell you that this Government is boring, that Key is the great pragmatist and that it is his ability to create elegant solutions that keeps him the firm favourite in many Kiwi eyes. This ability...
    The Daily Blog | 24-10
  • Hegemony rules but resistance is fertile
    The Prime Minister is a puppet. Not just our current Prime Minister, but given the forces of multinational globalisation, the role of any head of state, is less as independent actor, and more as a puppet of international trends and...
    The Daily Blog | 24-10
  • An open Letter to Sir Bob Jones: demanding a ‘liveable wage’ is not “...
    How out of touch with reality is Sir Bob Jones? You know, that white dude who invested in privatised SOEs after the selling off of our assets in the eighties and made a ludicrous and disgusting amount of money and is...
    The Daily Blog | 24-10
  • My insecurity about the Security Council
    As I write this (on 24 October) it is international UN Day. Of course, you all knew that already, right? Well, the day celebrates the entry into force of the UN Charter in 1945. With the ratification of this founding...
    The Daily Blog | 24-10
  • GUEST BLOG: Catherine Delahunty – Back in That House
    Parliament opened this week and I still find it a very odd place. Most of the people are reasonably courteous and friendly, but the rituals are archaic and the rules around issues like the swearing in oath are oppressive and...
    The Daily Blog | 23-10
  • Marae Investigates No More
    TVNZ yesterday announced the closure of their Māori and Pacific programmes department. That means they’ve chosen to stop making Fresh, Tagata Pasifika, Waka Huia and Marae Investigates to let independent producers get their hands on these lucrative contracts. This is...
    The Daily Blog | 23-10
  • BLOGWATCH: An Un-Civil War in Labour, eh?
    Earlier today, my attention was directed to an entry that’s just recently appeared on the Slightly Left of Centre blog. It purports to contain the ‘inside word’ from a highly placed NZF source – which is funny, because I’m pretty sure...
    The Daily Blog | 23-10
  • Santanomics 101
    Santanomics could mean a number of things. It could be the study and practice of giving. Or it could mean the study and practice of rampant end-of-year commercialism. However, for me today it is the economics of erectingAuckland’s giant Santa...
    The Daily Blog | 23-10
  • SkyCity boss misleads public over workers lost shifts
    SkyCity CEO Nigel Morrison has defended the employment practices at his company in an “Opinion” piece entitled “Human Capital key to corporate success” in the NZ Herald on Thursday. A number of his claims are misleading, contain only partial truths...
    The Daily Blog | 23-10
  • Roast Busters: Turn Indignation into Action
    People raged about the Roast Buster case. The indignation was justified – it was horrible. “Where were their parents!?” Fair question. I am sure the Roast Busters’ parents and the victims’ parents all wish they had been more proactive in...
    Scoop politics | 31-10
  • Stats NZ only have themselves to blame for postponement
    The Public Service Association (PSA) says Statistics NZ only have themselves to blame for the indefinite postponement of the release of the Food Price Index: November 2014....
    Scoop politics | 31-10
  • NZ Diversity Survey – benchmarking workplace diversity
    AUT University’s New Zealand Work Research Institute (NZWRI) has released a report on diversity in New Zealand workplaces....
    Scoop politics | 31-10
  • Māori Language (Te Reo Māori) Bill
    Tutehounuku Korako, Chair of the Māori Affairs Committee, is inviting further public submissions on this bill. The closing date for submissions is Friday, 5 December 2014....
    Scoop politics | 31-10
  • ERA amendments a mixed bag
    The Employment Relations Amendment Act has the potential to put vulnerable workers in a more precarious position, says Equal Opportunities Commissioner, Dr Jackie Blue. However, the commissioner says the right for all to request flexible work hours is...
    Scoop politics | 31-10
  • Sensible Sentencing calls for appeal of judicial activivism
    The Sensible Sentencing Trust is appalled that Justice Jill Mallon has today refused to apply the Life without Parole (LWOP) provisions of the Three Strikes law as enacted by Parliament....
    Scoop politics | 31-10
  • Global Rally against ISIS – for Kobanê – for Humanity, Nov 1
    The New Zealand Kurdish Community will march in solidarity with Kurdistan as part of the “GLOBAL RALLY AGAINST ISIS – FOR KOBANÊ – FOR HUMANITY” on 1 November 2014, 2pm....
    Scoop politics | 31-10
  • Does ‘No-Surprises’ Also Apply To TVNZ News?
    When you stand back and look at NZ media outlets, most of them have at least one or two people who attempt to hold the government to account: John Campbell on TV3, Guyon Espiner and others at Radio NZ, David...
    Scoop politics | 31-10
  • Safer roads are better for everyone
    Recent pedestrian versus vehicle incidents highlight the real issues being addressed by delegates as the 2Walk and Cycle conference concludes....
    Scoop politics | 31-10
  • Law change creates more flexible labour market
    The Employment Relations Amendment Act, passed yesterday, will bring new flexibility to the labour market and will reduce the ability of unions to organise and to recruit....
    Scoop politics | 30-10
  • Bumper ANZ profits mean no excuse for insecure hours
    A big rise in profits at New Zealand's largest bank needs to be reflected in a better pay offer and more security around hours of work, the bank workers’ union said today....
    Scoop politics | 30-10
  • Count down to lowered alcohol limit
    With just a month to go until a new lower alcohol limit for adult drivers comes into effect, Police and road safety agencies are reminding drivers of the impending change....
    Scoop politics | 30-10
  • WorkSafe Supports Forestry Review Findings
    WorkSafe NZ says the Independent Forestry Safety Review has clearly identified the problems facing an industry in which ten workers were killed last year. “The Review’s analysis matches our own view and leaves no doubt about the need for comprehensive,...
    Scoop politics | 30-10
  • CTU welcomes forestry review recommendations
    The CTU is welcoming the today's release of the independent forestry safety review panel findings. "These recommendations must be implemented to ensure that everything possible is done to make forestry safer." CTU President, Helen Kelly said....
    Scoop politics | 30-10
  • Activists will confront animal abusers
    Today animal rights activists will confront a group of wealth advisers who want to build the biggest egg factory-farm in New Zealand....
    Scoop politics | 30-10
  • Turia: Women’s Refuge Conference 2014
    This is a milestone moment in my life. This will be my last official address as Co-leader of the Maori Party. On Saturday night at our Hui-a-Tau, I will be standing down from that role and enabling a new co-leader,...
    Scoop politics | 30-10
  • Rodeo Code of Welfare ‘Sick Joke’
    Animal advocacy organisation SAFE says the revised Code of Welfare for Rodeos just released is nothing but a sick joke. “Rodeo animals are goaded, tormented and forced to endure needless suffering and gross mistreatment, all for the sake of so-called...
    Scoop politics | 30-10
  • Conservative Party applauds binding referenda on flag
    The Conservative Party are congratulating the Government on the decision to hold two binding referendums to decide the fate of New Zealand’s flag – and believes it will pave the way for binding referenda to form part of New Zealand...
    Scoop politics | 30-10
  • Walk the Talk – Opposing violence against women
    Soroptimist International of Auckland have organised a walk on 22 November from Silo Park at the Wynyard Quarter through the Viaduct and back to Silo Park, to show their opposition to violence against women. This event hopes to raise awareness...
    Scoop politics | 30-10
  • Recommendations on the Design of Pecuniary Penalties
    The Law Commission has reviewed the use of pecuniary penalties as a regulatory tool. Pecuniary penalties are financial penalties that policymakers are increasingly opting to use in place of criminal sanctions in order to punish and deter misconduct in...
    Scoop politics | 30-10
  • Every worker will be affected by employment law changes
    Every worker will feel the effects of the government’s new employment laws and should join a union if they want to maintain and increase their wages and conditions, says New Zealand’s largest private sector union, the EPMU....
    Scoop politics | 30-10
  • Shameful attack on all workers
    The Government has passed the Employment Relations Amendment Act slashing the rights of all Kiwi workers. “These changes are shameful. New Zealand now has some of the worst employment protections in the OECD. It is embarrassing that a country which...
    Scoop politics | 30-10
  • Unnecessary law changes more to do with ideology
    The government’s employment law changes are simply ideological and are at odds with its approach in the related areas of health and safety and immigration law, FIRST Union said tonight....
    Scoop politics | 30-10
  • CTU Runanga calls on iwi leaders
    Maori workers are calling on iwi leaders to speak out against the employment law changes expected to go through today. “Iwi leaders have previously spoken out when workers in Aotearoa have been under attack, we believe they should do so...
    Scoop politics | 30-10
  • Educating children not the best solution to alcohol harm
    Alcohol Healthwatch says we need to look beyond educating children and young people to address deeply embedded attitudes and behaviours concerning alcohol....
    Scoop politics | 30-10
  • New code of welfare for rodeos released
    New standards to strengthen the animal welfare requirements for rodeos have been issued today by the Minister for Primary Industries, Nathan Guy....
    Scoop politics | 30-10
  • IPCA report riddle with inaccuracies, say students
    A report by the Independent Police Conduct Authority into the policing of student protests in 2012 is riddled with inaccuracies, say students who laid the original complaint with the IPCA....
    Scoop politics | 30-10
  • CT v The Queen – indecency convictions quashed
    This summary is provided to assist in the understanding of the Court’s judgment. It does not comprise part of the reasons for that judgment. The full judgment with reasons is the only authoritative document. The full text of the judgment...
    Scoop politics | 30-10
  • Rameka v The Queen – murder convictions quashed
    This summary is provided to assist in the understanding of the Court’s judgment. It does not comprise part of the reasons for that judgment. The full judgment with reasons is the only authoritative document. The full text of the judgment...
    Scoop politics | 30-10
  • Auckland Council Out of Control
    Responding to the NZ Herald article that some Auckland households will face a rates rise of up to 9.6 per cent next year, Taxpayers’ Union Executive Director Jordan Williams says: “Len Brown’s pledge to cap rates rises at 2.5 per...
    Scoop politics | 30-10
  • Stats NZ staff escalate action with ‘no more meetings’ rule
    Statistics NZ staff have voted to escalate their ongoing industrial action in an effort to get Stats NZ back to the bargaining table with a reasonable offer. The staff, who are members of the Public Service Association (PSA), have been...
    Scoop politics | 29-10
  • Rape Crisis calls for changes to criminal justice system
    Wellington Rape Crisis has added its voice to the public outcry following the announcement that there will be no charges in the teen rape gang case. Butterworth says the decision not to lay charges will not have been a surprise...
    Scoop politics | 29-10
  • Police action justified in Blockade the Budget demonstration
    Police actions in dealing with a demonstration in Central Auckland known as Blockade the Budget on 1 June 2012 were justified and appropriate, an Independent Police Conduct Authority report released today found....
    Scoop politics | 29-10
  • NZDF Joins with Australia to Commemorate WWI Centenary
    A contingent of New Zealand Defence Force (NZDF) personnel will join their Australian counterparts at Australia’s first major commemoration of the First World War centenary in Albany, Western Australia this weekend....
    Scoop politics | 29-10
  • Reserve Bank should reduce interest rate
    “The Reserve Bank should be reducing its policy interest rate, the OCR”, says CTU Economist Bill Rosenberg in response to the Bank’s announcement today that it is not increasing it....
    Scoop politics | 29-10
  • 2015 Stout Fellow will write about Māori & Criminal Justice
    Kim Workman, founder and advocate for the Robson Hanan Trust, which administers the Rethinking Crime and Punishment and Justspeak initiatives, has been awarded the 2015 John David Stout Fellowship at Victoria University....
    Scoop politics | 29-10
  • What John Key thought about ‘dirty politics’
    On September 20, John Key swept to victory to become one of New Zealand’s most successful and popular Prime Ministers. Rocked by scandal, the 2014 election campaign was one of the most brutal – and riveting – in recent history....
    Scoop politics | 29-10
  • Trade Deal Threatens Farmers and Food Businesses
    The secret Trans Pacific Partnership negotiations are a direct threat to food businesses and farmers, and a moratorium on the release of GE crops must be enshrined in law before the TPP is signed....
    Scoop politics | 29-10
  • CTU announces election of new Secretary
    The contested election for the position of CTU Secretary has been won by Sam Huggard. Sam officially takes office on Monday 1 December 2014. Sam has worked in the union movement and brings a wealth of experience and a commitment...
    Scoop politics | 29-10
  • Kim Workman awarded 2015 J.D. Stout Fellowship
    The Victoria University of Wellington 2015 J.D. Stout Fellowship, funded by the Stout Trust, has been awarded to justice reform advocate Kim Workman. Mr Workman (Ngati Kahungungu ki Wairarapa, Rangitaane) is well known for his work on criminal justice,...
    Scoop politics | 29-10
  • TPPA causing concern
    Concern over the secretive Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement (TPPA) negotiations is being expressed in two public meetings over the next week; one at a presentation on 5th November by former councillor Robin Gwynn to the Napier City Council, the...
    Scoop politics | 29-10
  • Kiwis rally to demand justice for ‘Roast Buster’ survivors
    Over 1,500 kiwis have rallied to demand justice after the announcement of the NZ Police decision not to lay charges in the ‘Roast Busters’ saga....
    Scoop politics | 29-10
  • New employment law will hurt the most vulnerable NZers
    The Public Service Association (PSA) says changes to the Employment Relations Act, expected to be passed in Parliament tonight, will hurt vulnerable workers and their families more than anyone....
    Scoop politics | 29-10
  • Consultation to close on proposed place names
    The New Zealand Geographic Board (NZGB) Ngā Pou Taunaha o Aotearoa today advised that only one month remains before public consultation closes for 18 name proposals for geographic features and places around Te Ika ā Māui (the North Island)....
    Scoop politics | 29-10
  • Operation Clover – Statement from Police Commissioner
    I have taken a close interest in this investigation and I am confident police have conducted a thorough and professional enquiry in what has been a challenging and complex case. The Operation Clover team has ensured that victims have been...
    Scoop politics | 29-10
  • Better policy would have protected children from recession
    Child Poverty Action Group says an international report released by UNICEF today shows good policy can protect and improve child well-being, even during a recession....
    Scoop politics | 29-10
  • Outcome of Operation Clover investigation
    Police have completed a multi-agency investigation, Operation Clover, into the activities of a group calling themselves “The Roast Busters”. The 12 month enquiry focused on incidents involving allegations of sexual offending against a number of girls...
    Scoop politics | 29-10
  • False birth registration brings home detention
    A Whangarei woman who attempted to register the birth of a fictitious child to claim a sole parent benefit was sentenced to six months home detention in the Whangarei District Court today....
    Scoop politics | 29-10
  • Family of Robert Ellis demand a proper investigation
    The family of a New Zealander killed in Indonesia are growing increasingly concerned at the lack of information they’ve received, and the handling of the investigation into his murder....
    Scoop politics | 29-10
  • Minister of Health must account for aged care workers’ pay
    The New Zealand Federation of Business and Professional Women (BPW NZ) congratulates rest-home worker Kristine Bartlett on her landmark claim for equal pay from her employer and successfully pursuing this to the Court of Appeal....
    Scoop politics | 29-10
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