A fortnight ago, renowned pathologist National pollster David Farrar excused John Key’s decision to halt the recovery effort at Pike River, smugly stating that the fire meant all that would be left was “some bones and teeth, it could be just teeth”. This ‘there’s nothing left, no point’ line was the Nats’ main excuse for giving up. Even if true, there still would have been extensive evidence of the cause of the disaster but it turns out the National spin was completely wrong.
Families of the miners were shown video footage from the borehole (which the Police have apparently had for some time) of the area where the miners were working. Family spokesperson Bernie Monk says “There are still some intact bodies in there … undoubtedly this will make us push harder to get in.”
It turns out the Police are still at the mine, the Foxal machine is still pumping in nitrogen and the GAG machine has not been returned to Australia, even though Key said that the Aussies wanting the machine back was one of the reasons the recovery was being halted.
The receivers are on board. They have stated they plan to dig several more boreholes into the mine to monitor it and, presumably, these could be used to exchange its methane atmosphere for breathable air when the situation is stable enough as per the previous plan.
All of this makes it odder and odder that the government suddenly decided to break John Key’s promise to do ‘whatever it takes’ to get the men and abandon the recovery operation only a day after it had been successful in sealing leaks in the mine. And it makes you wonder why they gave the receivers just two working days to decide the mine’s fate.