web analytics
The Standard

The buck stops with the directors: Pike River

Written By: - Date published: 11:00 am, April 19th, 2013 - 9 comments
Categories: capitalism, disaster, john key, Mining, news, slippery, workers' rights - Tags: , ,

Yesterday, amidst all the other things happening in the news, this appeared with relatively little attention.  Pike River found guilty of negligence, leading to the death of of 29 miners: miners too young to die, leaving behind bereaved families, friends and a mourning community.

Pike River Coal has been convicted of all charges arising from the November 2010 mining tragedy that killed 29 men.

“In this case there were fundamental breaches of the Health and Safety in Employment Act which led to the unnecessary deaths of 29 men,” Judge Jane Farish said in the Greymouth District Court today.

Among all the other implications of this finding, this should be a wake up call to the NZ fourth estate MSM. Remember when Peter Whittall was uncritically given a platform in the MSM to promote himself and Pike River as a caring company?  And remember when John Key was at his side, condoning the whole PR sham?

John+Key+Peter+Whittall+29+Miners+Trapped+aMTi3PV4sfVx

The court findings and the (to be announced) fines, are welcomed with sorrow. One News reports:

Fines dished out to the former mining company in charge of the Pike River Mine will “never” be enough to make up for the deaths of 29 men, the father of a victim says….

But Lawrie Drew, father of one of the victims, said while it was a positive outcome, it would never be enough.

“We have to move on, and this is one good step because someone has been found culpable, but the punishments will never fit what happened,” he told ONE News.

And the ultimate cause is greed, and the company chasing profits – more important to them than the lives of its workers. The CTU is calling for law changes to make company directors responsible for not protecting the health and safety of their workers.

The CTU has welcomed the verdict, and called for a law change to make company directors liable where their company was negligent.

“Pike River Coal has gone under as a failed company that has left behind death and debt. We need to change the law to make the directors personally liable where their company was negligent,” CTU president Helen Kelly said.

“They were in charge, and the company was clearly negligent in their duties to the men down the mine. The current law protects negligent companies and needs to change.

She said that “maximum penalties need to be imposed” to try to bring “a sense of justice” to the families, and added that they should also receive compensation and reparation for their loss.

Helen Kelly on Morning Report this morning:

Audio clip: Adobe Flash Player (version 9 or above) is required to play this audio clip. Download the latest version here. You also need to have JavaScript enabled in your browser.

Well said, Helen.

h/t vto

9 comments on “The buck stops with the directors: Pike River”

  1. dewithiel 1

    These are the charmers in question (as per the Pike River annual report for 2010):

    1. Mr John Dow
    Independent Director and Chairman
    John Dow, a geologist, has had 42 years experience as a successful greenfields explorer, exploration manager, and mining executive in New Zealand, Australia, Antarctica, Southeast Asia, the United States, and Latin America. His most recent executive appointment was as chairman and managing director of Newmont Australia Limited, the Australasian subsidiary of Newmont Mining Corporation. He is currently the non-executive chairman of Troy Resources NL, non-executive chairman of Glass Earth Gold Limited and chairman of Straterra Inc.
    2. Gordon Ward *
    Executive Director
    Gordon Ward, with 23 years experience in the resource sector,
    is the managing director of Pike River. He was appointed to the Board in July 2006 and made chief executive in January 2007. He was previously New Zealand Oil & Gas Limited’s (NZOG) general manager, managing NZOG’s involvement in the Pike River, Tui oil and Kupe oil/condensate fields.
    3. Professor Raymond (Ray) Meyer
    Non Executive Director
    Ray Meyer, with 41 years experience in engineering, is a former director of the Electricity Corporation of New Zealand Limited, Transpower New Zealand Limited, Watercare Services Limited, Auckland Uni Services Limited, and chairman of the Forest Research Institute. He is currently deputy chairman of NZOG.
    4. Stuart Nattrass
    Independent Director
    Stuart Nattrass has 17 years experience in international financial markets, principally foreign exchange risk management, and is a director of a number of public and private companies.
    5. Dipak Agarwalla
    Non-Executive Director
    Dipak Agarwalla comes from a family with over 10 decades of coal mining experience in India. In 1994, he promoted Saurashtra Fuels Pvt Ltd, which today is one of India’s largest merchant coke producers. The groups have interests in pig iron, infrastructure and coal mines. He has held various positions in multilateral trade organisations, including Indian Met Coke Manufacturers Association.
    6. Roy Antony (Tony) Radford
    Non-Executive Director
    Tony Radford has 26 years experience in resource company management and has spent most of his career in the petroleum and mining industries. He is a founding director, and the current chairman of NZOG, and has been a director of Pike River since 1983.
    7. Arun Kumar Jagatramka
    Non-Executive Director
    Arun Kumar Jagatramka is the chairman and managing director of Gujarat NRE Coke Limited. Appointed as an honorary NSW “Sydney Ambassador” to India by the Govt of New South Wales, Australia, he is a member of a number of boards including Port Kembla Coal Terminal, Australian Coal Research Ltd and the Wollongong Hawks. He is also a member of the NSW Minerals Council.
    8. Sanjay Loyalka
    Alternate Director for Arun Jagatramka
    Sanjay Loyalka has over 22 years experience in various functional roles including CEO and general management. He has corporate finance experience in mining and metals, manufacturing and logistics-based industries in a multi-national environment. He was instrumental in the development of the Aditya Birla Group’s operations within Australia.

    • Murray Olsen 1.1

      How can John Dow have experience as a successful greenfields explorer, exploration manager, and mining executive in Antarctica, when mining there is banned by international treaty? Lovely people, those who rape the planet and let workers die. I’d be happy to see them rot in prison rather than escape their liabilities through business structures. Their earnings are basically the proceeds of crime, yet I don’t suppose Garth McVicar will be much of a victims’ advocate in this case.

  2. vto 2

    So where are these directors and shareholders and managers?

    A New Zealand court has found their company guilty of causing death, yet they have no comment?

    They didn’t even attend court. They have all made statements rejecting any responsibility despite the enquiry and now the courts finding that their actions caused the deaths. I am flabbergasted actually. They reflect on the integrity and standing of all company directors and owners unfortunately.

    Weak individuals. Cowardly and yellow-bellied.

    Hiding behind the limited liability nature of a company to an extent well beyond that originally intended for the limited liability company.

    disgusting

    disgusting

    what would their parents think? eh? ask yourself. what would your own parents say if it was you?

    • rosy 2.1

      Their parents have likely made excuses for them their whole lives.

      So, what’s the upshot of this? Fines on a bankrupt company, is that it?

    • Colonial Viper 2.2

      Corporate directors…collect the big fees, half a days work a week…negligence, incompetence and risk free returns.

      Maybe if we pay them more we would get better performance? ***lolz***

  3. Michael Morris 3

    How can a COMPANY be guilty of any criminal action. A company literally has no soul (or body either, being just a legal construct). Only individuals can be negligent, greedy or malicious, and these are the ones who should be held accountable.

    • lprent 3.1

      A romantic notion. Curiously, that isn’t how the courts tend to view it. They aren’t much into romantic views of the world.

      Nor is it how the law is written. There is considerable protection for the boards of directors in companies provided they stick to duties laid down for them in legislation. Since most of those are concerned with running trustworthy accounts, providing the required accounts, and are generally concerned with financial matters; they are usually relatively safe from criminal prosecution unless they as an individual issue an order transgressing criminal law.

      However if they either as a board or as individuals issue an order that says something like “we need better productivity” then they’ll generally have pushed the prosecution down the poor fool of a manager who actually orders or does something dangerous and illegal.

    • Colonial Viper 3.2

      How can a COMPANY be guilty of any criminal action.

      Companies are legal entities with legal responsibilities. It’s not a brainteaser.

  4. Michael Morris 4

    The law can deem anything to be anything but it doesn’t make it so in reality. Convicting a company for a crime makes as much sense as convicting locusts in a criminal court for damaging crops. Something that was often done in the middle ages.

Recent Comments

Recent Posts

  • 90,000 cars reclassified in botched ACC ratings
    New figures obtained by Labour show the ACC Minister’s botched motor vehicle levy system has resulted in 90,000 vehicles having to be reclassified so far – at a cost of $6 million, Labour’s ACC spokesperson Sue Moroney says. “Nikki Kaye’s… ...
    2 hours ago
  • Brutal health cuts confirmed, crucial services suffer
    Chronic under-funding by National has seen the health budget slashed by $1.7 billion in just five years, Labour’s Health spokesperson Annette King says. A report by Infometrics, commissioned by Labour, shows health funding has been cut in four of the… ...
    18 hours ago
  • Meth ring under Serco’s nose
    The news that two Serco inmates have been arrested for helping to run a methamphetamine ring from prison should be the final straw and see their contract cancelled, says Labour’s Corrections Spokesperson Kelvin Davis. “National has stood by Serco despite… ...
    24 hours ago
  • Ministers failing women and their own targets
    New figures showing just five Ministers have met the Government’s own reduced targets for appointing women to state sector boards is evidence National is failing Kiwi women, Labour’s Women’s Affairs spokesperson Sue Moroney says. “The Ministry for Women’s 2015 Gender… ...
    24 hours ago
  • Charges up for some as funding up for grabs
    A proposal being considered by the Government would see some people having to pay more for health care and district health boards forced to fight amongst themselves to fund regional health services, Labour’s Health spokesperson Annette King says “Information leaked… ...
    1 day ago
  • Stop experimenting on kids
    The trouble with the Charter school model is that it is a publicly funded experiment on children. The National Government has consistently put its desire to open charter schools ahead of the safety of the children in them, ignoring repeated… ...
    GreensBy Catherine Delahunty MP
    2 days ago
  • Bank puts the squeeze on mid Canterbury farmers
    News that an unnamed bank in Ashburton has put a receiver on notice over financially vulnerable farmers will send a chill through rural New Zealand, says Labour’s Finance Spokesperson Grant Robertson. “The Government needs to work with  New Zealand’s banks… ...
    2 days ago
  • Key is trading away New Zealand land and homes
    John Key yesterday admitted what National dishonestly refused to confirm in Parliament last week – he is trading away New Zealand’s right to control who buys our homes and land, says Opposition leader Andrew Little. “The Prime Minister must now… ...
    2 days ago
  • Razor gang takes scalpel to health
    Plans by the Government to take a scalpel to democratically elected health boards are deceitful and underhand, coming just months after an election during which they were never signalled, Labour’s Health spokesperson Annette King says “Leaked documents reveals a radical… ...
    2 days ago
  • Spin lines show a department in chaos
    Corrections Spin Doctors sending their place holder lines to journalists instead of responding to serious allegations shows the scale of chaos at the department over the Serco scandal, says Labour’s Corrections Spokesperson Kelvin Davis. “As more and more serious allegations… ...
    4 days ago
  • Court ruling shows law should never have been passed
    A High Court ruling that a law banning prisoners from voting is inconsistent with a properly functioning democracy should be a wake-up call for the Government, Labour’s Justice spokesperson Jacinda Ardern says. In an unprecedented ruling Justice Paul Heath has… ...
    5 days ago
  • Judicial Review Gamble Pays Off for Problem Gambling Foundation
    Congratulations are due to the Problem Gambling Foundation (PGFNZ) who have won their legal case around how the Ministry of Health decided to award their contracts for problem gambling services to another service provider. Congratulations are due not just for… ...
    GreensBy Denise Roche MP
    5 days ago
  • Environmental Protection Agency appoints GE advocate as new CEO
    This week, the Environmental Protection Authority Amendment Bill passed its first reading in Parliament. The Bill puts protection of the environment into the core purpose of the Environmental Protection Authority. This month, Dr Allan Freeth, the former Chief Executive of… ...
    GreensBy Steffan Browning MP
    5 days ago
  • Charanpreet Dhaliwal death demands genuine health and safety reform
    The killing of a security guard on his first night on the job is exactly the kind of incident that National’s watered-down health and safety bill won’t prevent, says Te Atatu MP Phil Twyford. The coronial inquest into 22-year-old Charanpreet… ...
    5 days ago
  • Arbitrary sanctions hit children hardest
    Increasing numbers of single parents are being penalised under a regime that is overly focussed on sanctions rather than getting more people into work, Labour’s Social Development spokesperson Carmel Sepuloni says. “Figures, obtained through Parliamentary questions show 3000 more sanctions,… ...
    5 days ago
  • Hekia just won’t face the facts
    Hekia Parata’s decision to keep troubled Whangaruru Charter school open despite being presented with a catalogue of failure defies belief, goes against official advice and breaks a Government promise to close these schools if they were failing, says Labour’s Education… ...
    5 days ago
  • No more silent witnesses
    Yesterday I attended the launch of a new initiative developed by and for Asian, Middle eastern and African youth to support young people to name and get support if there is domestic violence at home. The impact on children of… ...
    GreensBy Jan Logie MP
    5 days ago
  • Single Use Plastic Bags campaign – Some wins and some green-washing
    As we near the end of Plastic Free July I’m nearing the conclusion of my Say No To Plastic Bag tour when I will have completed all 30 of my public meetings. The campaign was designed to work with community… ...
    GreensBy Denise Roche MP
    5 days ago
  • Single Use Plastic Bags campaign – Some wins and some green-washing
    As we near the end of Plastic Free July I’m nearing the conclusion of my Say No To Plastic Bag tour when I will have completed all 30 of my public meetings. The campaign was designed to work with community… ...
    GreensBy Denise Roche MP
    5 days ago
  • Minister must take responsibility for problem gambling debacle
    The Government’s handling of the Problem Gambling Foundation’s axing in a cost-cutting exercise has been ham-fisted and harmful to some of the most vulnerable people in society, Associate Health Labour spokesperson David Clark says.“Today’s court ruling overturning the axing of… ...
    6 days ago
  • Labour will not support TPP if it undermines NZ sovereignty
    The Labour Party will not support the Trans Pacific Partnership Agreement unless key protections for New Zealanders are met, Opposition leader Andrew Little says.“Labour supports free trade. However, we will not support a TPP agreement that undermines New Zealand’s sovereignty. ...
    6 days ago
  • Coleman can’t ignore latest warnings
    Resident doctors have advised that a severe staffing shortage at North Shore Hospital is putting patients’ lives at risk, Labour’s Health spokesperson Annette King says. “They say a mismatch between staffing levels and patient workloads at North Shore has… ...
    6 days ago
  • ACC must remove barriers to appeals
    The Government must prioritise removing barriers to justice for ACC claimants following a damning report by Acclaim Otago, Labour’s ACC spokesperson Sue Moroney says. “ACC Minister Nikki Kaye must urgently scrap her flawed plan to remove claimant’s right to redress… ...
    6 days ago
  • Six months’ paid parental leave back on the agenda
    Six months’ paid parental leave is back on the agenda and a step closer to reality for Kiwi parents after Labour’s new Member’s Bill was pulled from today’s ballot, the Bill’s sponsor and Labour MP Sue Moroney says. “My Bill… ...
    6 days ago
  • Sole parents at risk of having no income
    New requirements for sole parents to undertake a reapplication process after a year is likely to mean a large number will face benefit cancellations, but not because they have obtained work, Labour’s Social Development spokesperson Carmel Sepuloni says. “Increasing numbers… ...
    6 days ago
  • Juking the Welfare Stats Again
    Last week the government’s major initiative to combat child poverty (a paltry $25 increase) was exposed for what it is, a lie. The Government, through the Budget this year, claims to be engaging in the child poverty debate, but instead,… ...
    GreensBy Jan Logie MP
    6 days ago
  • OCR rate cut a result of flagging economy
    The Reserve Bank's decision to cut the Official Cash Rate to 3 per cent shows there is no encore for the so-called 'rock star' economy, says Labour's Finance Spokesperson Grant Robertson.   "Today's interest rate cut comes off the back… ...
    6 days ago
  • Reboot to an innovation economy, an Internet economy and a clean economy
    In my short 33 years on this planet we’ve seen phenomenal technological, economic and social change, and it’s realistic to expect the next 33 will see even more, even faster change. You can see it in the non-descript warehouse near… ...
    GreensBy Gareth Hughes MP
    7 days ago
  • Bill that puts the environment into the EPA passes first hurdle
    A Bill that puts the environment squarely into legislation governing the Environmental Protection Authority passed its first reading today, says Meka Whaitiri.  “I introduced this member’s bill as the current law doesn’t actually make protecting the environment a goal of… ...
    7 days ago
  • Key’s KiwiSaver deception exposed
    KiwiSaver statistics released today expose John Key's claim that the cutting of the kickstart payment "will not make a blind bit of difference to the number of people who join KiwiSaver” to be duplicitous, says Labour Finance Spokesperson Grant Robertson.  “Official… ...
    7 days ago
  • Minimum Wage Amendment Bill to protect contractors
    All New Zealanders should be treated fairly at work. Currently, the law allows non-employment relationships to be used to get around the minimum wage. This is unfair, says Labour MP David Parker. “The Minimum Wage (Contractor Remuneration) Amendment Bill, a… ...
    7 days ago
  • Bill raises bar to protect Kiwi farmland
    The Government’s rubber-stamping of every one of the nearly 400 applications from overseas investors to buy New Zealand farm land over the last three years proves tougher laws are needed, Labour MP Phil Goff says. “In the last term of… ...
    1 week ago
  • Costly flag referendum should be dumped
    John Key must ditch the flag referendum before any more taxpayer money is wasted, Opposition Leader Andrew Little says. “Millions of dollars could be saved if the Prime Minister called a halt to this hugely expensive, and highly unpopular, vanity… ...
    1 week ago
  • Nats letting Serco off scot free
    Government members have prevented Parliament’s Law and Order select committee from getting answers out of a senior Serco director about the fight clubs being run at Mt Eden prisons, says Labour’s Corrections Spokesperson Kelvin Davis. “At today’s Law and Order… ...
    1 week ago
  • Charter school experiment turns into shambles
    The National Government’s charter school experiment has descended into chaos and it’s time for Hekia Parata to stop trying to cover up the full extent of the problems, Labour’s Education spokesperson Chris Hipkins says. “The Education Minister must release all… ...
    1 week ago
  • Disconnect between rates and income must be fixed
    Local Government New Zealand’s 10 Point Plan is a chance to stop the widening chasm between the rates some households are charged and their ability to pay, Labour’s Local Government spokesperson Su’a William Sio says. “There is a huge disconnect… ...
    1 week ago
  • Parole and ‘surviving the first year’
    “Intensive psychological treatment and early release to parole is far more effective at reducing reoffending among high risk prisoners than serving out the full prison sentence.” That’s reportedly the finding of Surviving the First Year, a recently-released study into Corrections’… ...
    GreensBy David Clendon MP
    1 week ago
  • Parole and ‘surviving the first year’
    “Intensive psychological treatment and early release to parole is far more effective at reducing reoffending among high risk prisoners than serving out the full prison sentence.” That’s reportedly the finding of Surviving the First Year, a recently-released study into Corrections’… ...
    GreensBy David Clendon MP
    1 week ago
  • If it’s good enough for Lake Taupō…
    Nick Smith supports helping farmers transition away from dairying and agrees we must set nitrogen caps that limit the number of animals on farms. He says this strategy is “world leading”. However we need action and pressure from him, on to… ...
    GreensBy Catherine Delahunty MP
    1 week ago
  • The importance of swamp kauri for climate research
    As early as 2010, international climate scientists were expressing concern at the rate of ancient swamp kauri extraction in Northland. Swamp kauri provides one of the best sources in the world for measuring climate fluctuations over the last 30,000 years.… ...
    GreensBy Eugenie Sage MP
    1 week ago
  • Govt needs to heed warnings on med students
    The Government is being urged to act on advice it has received about the negative impact its seven year study cap will have on hundreds of medical students, Labour’s Health spokesperson Annette King says. “The 7EFTS lifetime limit unfairly disadvantages… ...
    1 week ago
  • Ministers at sea over overseas buyers register
    The Prime Minister and three of his ministers are at odds over the collection of information about offshore speculators buying our houses and seem to be making things up as they go, Labour’s Housing spokesperson Phil Twyford says. “John Key… ...
    1 week ago
  • Time for Key to ditch the King Canute routine
    With the economic mood in New Zealand souring, it is time for John Key to admit reality and drop the King Canute approach, says Labour’s Finance spokesperson Grant Robertson.  “John Key is claiming that 95 per cent of the economy… ...
    1 week ago
  • Botched contract leads to charter school rort
    A botched Government contract has allowed an Auckland charter school to double dip by getting funding for students it has accommodated for free, Labour’s Education spokesperson Chris Hipkins says. “Information received by Labour through written Parliamentary questions show the Ministry… ...
    1 week ago
  • Flawed system costs $3 million and counting
    New figures obtained* by Labour show the Government’s shambolic ACC car registration levy system has cost more than $3 million to implement and the costs are set to escalate, Labour's ACC spokesperson Sue Moroney says. “That’s $3 million that could… ...
    1 week ago
  • Radio NZ facing death by 1000 cuts
    The National Government’s seven year funding freeze on Radio New Zealand has put its vital public broadcasting services in serious jeopardy, Labour’s Broadcasting spokesperson Clare Curran says. "The axing of 20 jobs at our only publicly funded broadcaster shows the… ...
    1 week ago
  • Trades funding cut short-sighted
      Short-sighted funding cuts could lead to fewer school students learning trades, Labour’s Education spokesperson Chris Hipkins says. "Schools are now being financially penalised for enrolling students in trades academies. They could lose teachers and school management positions as a… ...
    1 week ago
  • The rock star economy is well out of tune
    The bad news is mounting for the economy with job ads falling in June, suggesting employment is taking a hit, says Labour’s Finance spokesperson Grant Robertson. “ANZs Job Ads data shows job advertising fell 0.6 per cent in June and is… ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Treasury latest to withhold Saudi sheep scandal information
    The Labour Party will today lodge a complaint with the Ombudsman after the Treasury became the latest government department to withhold information on the Saudi sheep scandal. Labour’s Trade and Export Growth spokesperson David Parker says the Government has been… ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Calls to extend life-saving training
    The Government must ensure all health sector workers are not only be trained to routinely check for medical identification bracelets but have access to critical online patient information, Labour’s Health spokesperson Annette King says. “The tragic death of an 80-year-old… ...
    2 weeks ago

Public service advertisements by The Standard

Current CO2 level in the atmosphere