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

1 2 3 8

  • Tragedy must be impetus for better training
    The Police Minister needs to explain why unsworn and inadequately trained custody officers were put in a situation of caring for a medically unwell prisoner on a busy Saturday night, Labour’s Police spokesperson Kelvin Davis says. Commenting on an IPCA… ...
    17 hours ago
  • Government must be more transparent on investor state clauses
    The Government must be more transparent around the draft investor state dispute settlements in the TPPA, says David Parker, Labour’s Export Growth and Trade spokesperson. “Labour is pro trade, and is proud of the FTA we negotiated with China, which… ...
    22 hours ago
  • Protect university staff and student voices
    The Green Party believes ensuring student and staff representation on university councils is important. National recently passed a law reducing the size of university governance councils while increasing the proportion of the members nominated by, guess who… Steven Joyce. The… ...
    GreensBy Gareth Hughes MP
    2 days ago
  • C’mon Nick what’s the truth on the RMA
     “Nick Smith has got to fess up and tell us what is happening to his much vaunted RMA reform, Labour’s Environment spokesperson Megan Woods says.  “With just a day and a half to go before the polls open in Northland,… ...
    2 days ago
  • SSC salaries sink National’s spending spin
    Massive pay rises at the State Services Commission prove National’s claims of clamping down on spending in the public sector are simply fantasy, Labour’s State Services spokesman Kris Faafoi says. “Salaries in this one department are almost $70,000 more than… ...
    2 days ago
  • We can fix Christchurch and keep our assets
    The Christchurch City Council is seeking public feedback on its proposed 10 year plan for Council revenue and spending. This is probably one of the most significant 10 year plans ever to be written by a local council because of… ...
    GreensBy Eugenie Sage MP
    2 days ago
  • Epidemic of serious assaults in our prisons
    Labour wants stab proof vests and pepper spray for all corrections officers to keep them safe from the epidemic of serious prison assaults that are occurring around the country’s jails, says Labour’s Corrections Spokesperson Kelvin Davis.  “There have been five… ...
    2 days ago
  • Listen to the locals Hekia!
    Minister Hekia Parata needs to understand what consultation is, Port Hills MP Ruth Dyson says. “It means you have to listen to what people say in their submissions and then be able to demonstrate you have considered their views when… ...
    3 days ago
  • Thanking our caregivers
    Let’s celebrate and thank our caregivers. This week is caregivers’ week. It’s a chance to acknowledge the thousands of women, and occasional other person, who are caring for the elderly and disabled in our country. They hold people’s lives in… ...
    GreensBy Jan Logie MP
    3 days ago
  • Mana Post shop the best outcome for community
    Labour MP for Mana Kris Faafoi has welcomed the move to place the services from the Mana Post shop to a local small business. “This is the best outcome for the community we could ask for. All the vital services… ...
    3 days ago
  • Labour looks to put the tea back into entitlements
    Labour is moving to restore the rights of Kiwis to take tea and rest breaks, Leader Andrew Little says. “Within months of the Government’s Employment Relations Amendment Bill becoming law we are already seeing some of our largest companies, including… ...
    3 days ago
  • Desperate money grab to keep Ruataniwha afloat
    The Hawke’s Bay Regional Investment Company’s decision to borrow $4 million to keep the Ruataniwha project afloat is a case of throwing ratepayer’s good money after bad, says Labour’s Water spokesperson Meka Whaitiri and Napier MP Stuart Nash.   “This bridging… ...
    4 days ago
  • Roundup: UN finds it “probably” causes cancer
    At last the UN has spoken out against the widely-used weedkiller Roundup. The UN’s International Agency for Research on Cancer has identified glyphosate, the principle ingredient in Roundup, as a probable carcinogen. They also include as probable carcinogens the insecticides… ...
    GreensBy Steffan Browning MP
    4 days ago
  • Invermay petition delivered to Parliament
    Labour’s Economic Development spokesperson David Clark handed over a 12,450 signature Save Invermay petition to Dunedin South MP Clare Curran on the steps of Parliament today.  “The level of support that the petition has received across New Zealand is overwhelming,”… ...
    4 days ago
  • Redcliffs School closure plan wrong
    The Government’s proposal to consult on the closure of Redcliffs School not only goes against the best geotechnical advice, but more importantly goes against the best educational outcomes for Redcliffs children and the health of our community, Port Hills MP… ...
    4 days ago
  • Cotton On first to test the tea breaks law
    Australian corporate Cotton On, the first major business operating in New Zealand to exploit the new tea breaks law, could walk away from negotiations if it doesn’t get its own way, says Labour Party Labour Relations spokesperson Iain Lees-Galloway.  “Cotton… ...
    5 days ago
  • World water day: eight rivers in one day
    Our photo journey started by the Waioweka (also known as Waioeka) River which flows from Te Urewera to Opotiki, and is surrounded by beautiful forest. The water looked great! Kopeopeo Canal It contrasted greatly with the Kopeopeo Canal near Whakatane,… ...
    GreensBy Catherine Delahunty MP
    5 days ago
  • Council can stop Port’s encroachment on harbour
    As owner of the Port of Auckland, Council can stop the wharf extension and reclamation if it wants to, says Labour’s Auckland Issues spokesperson Phil Goff. ‘As owner the council is custodian of the port and harbour on behalf of… ...
    5 days ago
  • We all benefit when education meets everyone’s needs
    As Dyslexia week comes to a close,  Dyslexia NZ have reminded us that around 10% of our citizens are dyslexic and are entitled to better support. One of their strongest arguments is that failure to provide identification and support for… ...
    GreensBy Catherine Delahunty MP
    5 days ago
  • State house sell-off fiasco a gift for developers
    The Government’s property developer mates are the only people who can salvage National’s state house sell-off now the Salvation Army has torpedoed the policy, Labour’s Housing spokesperson Phil Twyford says. “Having been cynically used by the Government as the poster… ...
    5 days ago
  • National reinforces inequality in schools
    The National Government’s flagship programme Investing in Educational Success is clearly reinforcing inequality in the school system, Labour’s Education spokesperson Chris Hipkins says. “The analysis released today by the NZEI clearly shows schools in wealthier suburbs are the main beneficiaries… ...
    5 days ago
  • Big change starts small
    Today marks Race Relations Day in New Zealand. Race Relations Day coincides with the International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination.  The United Nations General Assembly chose this day as it marks the day in 1960 when 69 peaceful… ...
    GreensBy Denise Roche MP
    7 days ago
  • Israel, Palestine and the question of statehood
    The knife-edge election in Israel complicates the Middle East situation, even more than usual. The Prime Minister-elect, Binyamin Netanyahu, is moving to form a government. Netanyahu has indicated that, during his term, a Palestinian state would not be established. That… ...
    GreensBy Kennedy Graham MP
    1 week ago
  • Christchurch transport goes backwards
    The Green Party has a vision of a liveable, accessible Christchurch with a sense of identity and strong connected communities. Instead, 2013 census figures released by Statistics New Zealand reveal a fractured community, and tell a story of frustrated Christchurch commuters… ...
    GreensBy Eugenie Sage MP
    1 week ago
  • Super Fund should divest $140 million in high risk coal
    The Green Party is calling on the New Zealand Super Fund to divest their $140 million investment in coal companies that are vulnerable to becoming financially stranded according to a damning new report from Oxford University. The Smith School of… ...
    GreensBy Russel Norman MP
    1 week ago
  • Learn to count with Mark Osborne: 0 + 1 = ?
    The adage about the first casualty of war being truth is one that might often be applied to the political battle for hearts and minds, and of course votes. A rather unfortunate example of this has been arriving in the… ...
    GreensBy David Clendon MP
    1 week ago
  • Is it still a safety net when the holes are this big?
    Over the last few weeks I’ve been wondering how safe our income support system is for people, especially those with cognitive or learning disabilities. I’ve been trying to support a young man who was severely injured in a workplace accident… ...
    GreensBy Jan Logie MP
    1 week ago
  • Pasifika – protecting the Pacific needed now more than ever.
    Over the weekend thousands of Aucklanders flocked to celebrate our city’s diverse Pacific communities and cultures at the annual Pasifika festival and the Greens were there to join them. The Pasifika festival has been held every year for 23… ...
    GreensBy Denise Roche MP
    2 weeks ago
  • Sounds Stakeholders Seek a Sustainable Future
    It was heartening to see a large number of people who care about the Marlborough Sounds come together at the Marlborough Marine Futures’ forum in Picton on March 8. Fellow Green MP Steffan Browning, who lives in Marlborough, and I… ...
    GreensBy Eugenie Sage MP
    2 weeks ago
  • Solid Energy, who will clean up the mess?
    What can you say? This state-owned coal miner is facing some very serious problems. They haven’t run a profit in years, have required two Government bailouts, laid-off more than 700 staff and look like they need a third injection of… ...
    GreensBy Gareth Hughes MP
    2 weeks ago

Removed at the request of The Daily Blog.
Public service advertisements by The Standard

Current CO2 level in the atmosphere