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Farrar’s pike river smears

Written By: - Date published: 12:09 pm, January 15th, 2011 - 136 comments
Categories: Unions - Tags: ,

Andrew Little, the National Secretary of the the miner’s union, the EPMU, has called for a rethink on sealing the Pike River mine as access may be vital to actually finding out what happened.

Of course David Farrar’s response to this is to try to smear Little’s claim as politically motivated:

Is Andrew speaking as Labour Party President or EPMU Secretary when he alleges any decision to seal the mine is part of a plot by the Government to conceal evidence?

One could just as easily ask whether David Farrar was running this smear as a concerned (but ill-informed) citizen who has never set foot in a mine or as a man who owes his living to the National Party.

Unfortunately for David, as he so often does, he’s overreached with his smear by making the ridiculous statement:

Maybe Andrew could explain exactly what evidence he thinks still exists after weeks of thousand degree fires.

You see what David’s doing there? He’s employing irony to show just how ridiculous (and thus politically motivated) Little’s statement is. What a clever chap.

Or it would be clever if it were not for the fact there’s a lot of evidence that is likely to still be available in the mine such as the exact point of detonation, what machinery was at the detonation point, what sort of drill was in use a the time, where transformers and other electrical equipment was positioned, the nature of the seam at the point of explosion, whether there was a subsequent cave-in and if so where it was, the position of the miners and contractors in the mine at the time of the explosion and the condition of the emergency exit shaft.

I’d imagine that those more knowledgeable about mining and forensics would probably be able to add to that list.

I’d also imagine that David would realise this if he’d stopped to think before he wrote. But concern for answers about how this tragedy happened isn’t the point of his post. Rather the point is to smear Little (and anyone else who questions the government’s role in this) because the government has started to come under pressure for not following through on its promises.

David’s desperate frothing is a clear sign that he and the nats (if one can really make a distinction between the two) don’t just want the mine sealed off. They want the whole damn issue sealed off. To the point they’re willing to attack anyone who asks difficult questions.

They need to learn that governing the country means more than just doing a few photo-ops and then washing your hands of the issue.

136 comments on “Farrar’s pike river smears ”

  1. Colonial Viper 1

    The potential for blow back on the NATs over this is increasing. Step by step LAB/CTU, we need to get real answers on what happened to the families of the miners so that they can understand why things went so wrong.

    Also, there are coal miners working underground in NZ this very moment. We owe it to them to gather the fullest understanding that we can of the events leading right up to the explosion.

    And that means full site access.

    • Swampy 1.1

      Righto, is Phil going to get himself lowerd down that shaft so he can walk around in the darr. Come on Goofy, Step up to the plate, go down there yourself and see how long you last.

      • QoT 1.1.1

        Did this even make sense in your own head, Swampy? And did you honestly just try to turn this into a debate about Goff not being a “hard man”?

        • WTF

          Feeble attempt at misdirection QoT. The point, obviously, is that it is utterly fatuous to talk about this as if there is a way of getting into the mine. If you lefties who are so keen to call for “someone” to walk into certain death by trying to recover the bodies ( or “evidence”, whichever one you are pretending to be outraged about at the moment) , then how about you demonstrate the wisdom of this by trying it yourselves instead of letting someone else get killed to make a political point?

          • bbfloyd

            i agree wtf…. your attempt at misdirection was much better… impressive!

          • QoT

            Do you actually think that’s the discussion at hand, WTF? David Farrar … with NO experience in mining … is trying to intellectually trump Andrew Little … who RUNS A UNION REPRESENTING MINERS. Who exactly do you think probably has better information to hand?

            Nobody’s “calling for someone to walk into certain death”. We just expect that proper process and investigation be followed, whether that looks good for John Key or not.

            I must say I’m in love with this notion that wanting to leave things in the hands of impartial experts puts some burden on us to Do It Ourselves. Do I *look* like a mining expert to you?

      • bbfloyd 1.1.2

        swamp….i will,,,,, if you give me a demo first..

  2. “Police have handed over the mine to recievers after abandoning efforts to recover bodies.”
    See “called for a rethink” in the above link.

    The Commissioner of police is responsible to the Minister of Police for the administration and control of the police in enforcing the law.

    To me the recievers of Pike River Coal Limited now have the responsibility of law enforcement as the Police Commissioner has handed over the mine to the recievers.

    What really gets up my nose with this police decision is that 5 million dollars is all that the operation is considered to be worth (don’t swallow the BS about it not being about money) and the country do not know how much money has been spent on employment decisions to purge the police of undesirable cops.

    How much of the 10 million that the recievers have has been offered to the police?

  3. QoT 3

    I’d also imagine that David would realise this if he’d stopped to think before he wrote.

    I think this begs the question, given your point about David Farrar’s own political connections, as to whether those obvious facts even matter. Is this really about DPF having the critical thinking capabilities of a gnat, or is it just about getting the orthodox narrative out there as soon as possible so people won’t start thinking about the evidence that could, indeed, still be there?

    • IrishBill 3.1

      I’d like to think that David’s disregard for common sense and fact wasn’t deliberate given the importance of the matter.

      • QoT 3.1.1

        We are talking about the same David “my idea of satire is saying the Greens are going to force everyone to have abortions” Farrar, right?

        • IrishBill

          My New Year’s resolution was to try to give people the benefit of the doubt. By the way, I’ve left a note over at your blog vis-a-vis your last address to Marty.

  4. Swampy 4

    This is the union secretary who, you forgot to mention, is also the president of the Labour Party

    As such he has chosen to enter the political realm and put himself in the firing line.

    His statements are pure politics in effect made as either a third party that is going to campaign against Goverment in the election (the union) or as a political party (Labour) or both.

    Therefore Mr Farrars comments you may not like them but he is entitled to point out the political angle to them.

    • QoT 4.1

      Weak attack, Swampy. IB didn’t need to mention it since it comes up in DPF’s own quote anyway (but thanks for going to bat for all those too unengaged to read to the third paragraph).

      As the secretary of the union which represents mining workers, Little has every right to speak in that capacity on an issue relating to mining workers. In those circumstances, sure, he’s a public figure in the media whose actions are up for scrutiny.

      But DPF isn’t examining his actual statements or arguments, he’s just saying NANANANA YOU’RE THE LABOUR PARTY PRESIDENT SO YOU CAN’T SAY ANYTHING NEENER NEENER. Which is hardly a compelling argument coming from someone who doesn’t in that context immediately disclose his own political/financial interests.

      • IrishBill 4.1.1

        What QoT said.

      • Swampy 4.1.2

        All David did is pointing out which hat is he wearing is he making some sensible comment or a political statement on behalf of Labour or the union that “we are campagining against John Key because its election year and Labour wants the west coast seat back”

        Cause don’t forget and Goff hasnt that this is a west coast stronghold for labour as is the mining industry their rootrs.

        From me I see the political angle of his comment strongly because its typical union meddling in workplace relations between employers and employees and turning them into political pawns which Im sure Little has ample experience of being in the union probably most of his carerr and beign the secretary and now tapped to enter the Parliament for Labour this year.

        We are really seeing a lot mor of this union stuff with them attacking all and sundrey left right centre trying to pull Labour left and clearnly campainging like the unions of old suggesting they are now getting to big for their boots and need to be reigned in.

        • The Voice of Reason

          Welcome to the fifties, Swampy. I’m sure it’s going to be a great decade for you. Would you mind if the rest of us just carried on living in the present day, though? Just keep sending the occasional despatch to the Standard, letting us know how you’re getting on, because we care, we really do.

        • QoT

          Right, so you just don’t see any problem with DPF questioning Andrew Little’s statements based on nothing more than “oh, he’s also the Labour Party president”? While coincidentally failing to disclose his own ties to National? Which was entirely what I already said?

          For the sake of consistency you must really support this post questioning DPF’s credibility because it’s the exact same thing … except that DPF has no expertise in mining and Little runs a union made up of many voluntary members who are experts in mining.

          • Pete

            I agree the presumption that DPF has no expertise in mining is probably correct.
            You also infer that Little doesn’t have mining expertise. So unless he sought expert advice on mining – and especially on the current state of the Pike River mine – from union members the comparison is irrelevant.

    • What a load of crap Swampy . The facts are that Key once again opened his big mouth to please the people.It’s what he does all,the time say what the population likes to hear wave smile and move on . The people are pleased and the promises are forgotten. This time it’s different working people want their loved ones returned, as promised by this charlatan and mountebank.Perhaps at last the population are begining to see just what this pretender is. Its certainly time.

  5. I notice that you haven’t referenced this quote IB:

    Despite the union’s concerns, the Grey District Mayor said he is confident there will be enough evidence for the Pike River mine inquiry, even if the mine is sealed.

    “They’re going to interview 400 (people) all up. They’ve got every single hard drive and computer from day one of Pike River coal. Even though they can’t get evidence from the mine, I feel there’s enough evidence out there to get to the bottom of this”, Tony Kokshoorn told Newstalk ZB.

    He said it was sad for the families who wanted the bodies recovered, but believes the inquiry will reveal how such a disaster can happen.

    A bit of balance is always useful.

    • IrishBill 5.1

      I never said the investigation couldn’t be concluded. I said that it’s likely there will be evidence in the mine and to claim there’s not is pretty dumb. Do you think there might be valuable evidence in the mine IV2?

      • Inventory2 5.1.1

        In all honesty IB, with two months of 1000*c fires burning throughout the mine, I’d say that the likelihood of recovering anything material to the investigation and inquiry would be nil. If there was anything there of any evidential benefit, the police wouldn’t be handing over control of the site.

        • Eddie

          because all that equipment made of heavy grade metals will just be vapourised eh? And there will be absolutely no sign of where the workers were or what they were working on, eh?

  6. Bazar 6

    To be honest, i think both sides are full of it.
    Its obvious there will be something of value lost in the mine, both bodies and data/evidence. But andrew takes the cake with:

    “Making a decision to seal the mine now is not just a decision to leave the men down there, but a decision to say we’re not going to get the evidence to find out what really happened.”

    What a load of horseshit. Why doesn’t Andrew go down to the mine himself and piss all over it to put it out, its obvious hes pissing over everything else.

    Andrew deserves as much flack as he gets for point scoring like that.

    • Colonial Viper 6.1

      Andrew deserves as much flack as he gets for point scoring like that.

      Even though its a good point that he scored?: if you seal the mine now, you will never be able to access the evidence needed to conclusively decide how the accident happened.

      What a load of horseshit. Why doesn’t Andrew go down to the mine himself and piss all over it to put it out, its obvious hes pissing over everything else.

      Perhaps there was an actual point that you wanted to make? Unless this is just a pissing contest to you?

      • Bazar 6.1.1

        Pissing contest, yes thats what i see this as, but lets start shall we.

        “They want the whole damn issue sealed off. To the point they’re willing to attack anyone who asks difficult questions.”

        Funny, from the nz herald artical i don’t actually see any questions being asked. I dont’ see any constructive critizism, i only see Andrew claiming how the goverment’s investigation will be a failure.

        “Mr Little said the Government has let the families down and the union will continue to work with them to get justice.”

        Not only does it imply that the goverment has been the source of injustice, but that somehow the union will hold hands of the families and find them justice where a corrupt and incompetent government couldn’t.

        Thats some nice questions hes raised hasn’t he
        Its nothing like point scoring on the backs of the dead, and their victims, to raise his profile.

        Then we have this artical, which isn’t much better. You can point out the inconsistancies and unfairness of Farrah’s artical. But the moment you start taking potshots at national over it, your no bloody better then he was. Its hypocrisy!

        Actually i’d say your worse, Farrah doesn’t actually take any shots at labour, just at andrew which as i’ve said before he deserves as much flack as he gets over that.

        Finally to make my point clear to Viper, my point is Andrew is full of it.
        Even if he has good intentions, hes clearly seeking to make political points by the victims for cheap point scoring. I’m disgusted.

        • IrishBill

          Or alternatively he’s representing the interests of the families of the miners. You know the miners who were union members.

          As Bernie Monk says: “EPMU national secretary Andrew Little was backing the families to the hilt.” http://www.nzherald.co.nz/nz/news/article.cfm?c_id=1&objectid=10699829

          Are you saying that Little deserves to get flack for sticking up for the views of the victims families?

        • Colonial Viper

          Funny, from the nz herald artical i don’t actually see any questions being asked. I dont’ see any constructive critizism, i only see Andrew claiming how the goverment’s investigation will be a failure.

          Little has made some good constructive criticism around this whole issue. (Looking beyond just a single Herald article to what Little has actually been saying).

          1) Don’t give up on recovering the miners’ remains.
          2) Don’t seal the mine because if you do the loss of evidence will fail the investigation.

          I’m disgusted.

          Seems that Righties have really strong disgusted and self-righteous ‘brain centres’. Every other thing that they consider is “disgusting” or should be “ashamed of” or makes them ‘sick’ etc. Interesting.

          Get over it guys. The world turned fine before we were here, and it will turn fine after we are gone.

        • Vicky32

          “You can point out the inconsistancies and unfairness of Farrah’s artical.”
          Interesting mis-spelling, Bazar! Are you a fan of WND by any chance?

    • Pascal's bookie 6.2

      “What a load of horseshit.”

      Eh? Looks like a simple description of reality to me. All he is saying is that it is not just the men that will be left down there, but evidence.

      So unless you can think of a way of deciding to seal the mine that isn’t also deciding to leave the evidence down there, I’d get off the high horse.

  7. NX 7

    This is the key quote you have chosen to ignored:

    “Does Andrew have some magic way to enter the mine we do not know of?”

    • QoT 7.1

      Here’s the key question you have chosen to ignore:

      “Does DPF have any fucking evidence or expertise to question the secretary of a union which represents miners?”

      • NX 7.1.1

        DPF can question whom ever he wants.

        • QoT

          Of course he can. And I can question Stephen Hawking on quantum physics if I want to but that doesn’t mean I would advise anyone to hold up my questions as being in any way relevant or demanding an answer if I clearly don’t have a fucking clue what I’m talking about.

          • NX

            Wait, what…. you can question Hawkings on Quantum physics if you want.
            Kiwiblog is DPF’s personal opinion blog.

            • Pascal's bookie

              “Kiwiblog is DPF’s personal opinion blog.”

              except for when the Nats use it to test reaction to their billboards and shit. Obviously.

            • Colonial Viper

              This is the key quote you have chosen to ignored:

              “Does Andrew have some magic way to enter the mine we do not know of?”

              This is BS.

              Key knew that it could take months to get into the mine.

              Why have efforts stopped after 4+ weeks. Mechanical failure?

              • NX

                Ask Howard Board.

                • Colonial Viper

                  Why am I going to ask a policeman about highly specialist mining issues? You say you want the miners’ remains out – what are *your* questions to Broad?

                  • NX

                    Because Howard Board (the Labour appointed Police boss) is the guy in charge.

                    • Colonial Viper

                      How is Broad going to answer highly specialist mining issues? What questions do you want to ask him?

                      He’s in charge, so why hasn’t he explained how this decision was reached?

                      Oh…its because he’s a great policeman but not a mining specialist and doesn’t have the expertise to explain.

            • QoT

              Yes … and his “personal opinion” is just that. You’re the one arguing that his personal opinion carries some weight against Andrew Little’s words, remember?

              • NX

                DPF & I happen to have the same opinion on this point; Mr Little doesn’t know a way to enter the mines. I wish he did.

                • Colonial Viper

                  Tell you what mate: keep the recovery efforts live, if the current experts can truly suggest no way ahead, throw them all out and get a new team of professionals in.

                  Simply keeping going will give us some chance of entering the mine. We knew that it might take *months* before the mine was safe to enter, and we knew that in Dec.

                  Give up now, and the chance of entering the mine to recover the bodies = ZIP.

                  • NX

                    I’m thinking hard about this Viper – trying to put myself into the perspective of someone whose family member is down the mine.
                    But the question that keeps entering my mind is – recover what exactly. The conditions in the mine may have cremated them.
                    As sad as it is – recovering cremated remains in a mine is probably impossible.

                    • Pascal's bookie

                      The families haven’t been silent NX. Their lawyer hasn’t either. Thye feel like this has been sprung on them. Communication has obviously not been taking place.

                      That’s something the PM should have been sure was sorted. He made that brothers keepers speech on the nation’s behalf.

                    • Colonial Viper

                      trying to put myself into the perspective of someone whose family member is down the mine….As sad as it is – recovering cremated remains in a mine is probably impossible.

                      Oh give me a break, how is it going, your efforts to put yourself into the shoes of an affected Pike River family???

                      If they managed to recover some body materials in 9/11 they will do so here as well. The only way to know is to keep working on the mine recovery, not to give up now.

                      And the other thing that can be recovered for families from the mine is direct evidence which helps give them answers on what happened to their loved ones and how it happened!

                      Do not ignore the importance of that in the healing process.

    • IrishBill 7.2

      I don’t think it’s rocket science to conclude that as the first stage of the process has been achieved the best way to gain entry to the mine is to continue to stage two.

      Right at the start of the effort to regain access to the mine experts were saying it could take a few months. It’s now been a little over one month and the promises to be in for the long-haul that were being made back then seem to be fading.

      I’m not in a position to judge the cost benefit of continuing the effort to enter the mine but I’m also not the one that said everything possible would be done.

      • NX 7.2.1

        I don’t think the police are lying to us when they state it’s not possible to enter the mine. It’s sad & unfortunately, but is also reality.

        • IrishBill

          I’ve had a look and it seems the police didn’t say it would not be possible to enter the mine. In fact the only person who seems to have made that claim publicly is John Key.

          • NX

            Howard Board (the police boss dating back from previous Labour govt.) fronted the new conference where he declared it was ‘safely unrealistic’ to recover the miners.

            It’s just a sad situation. Volatile gases are calling the shots on this one.

            • Colonial Viper

              It’s just a sad situation.

              Fatalistic and emotive BS – at this point we need to know what the technical situation is and what the engineering judgement calls taken have been. Not the text from a Press Release.

              Where is this information *Why has it not been communicated*

          • Swampy

            Broad has clearly stated it is unrealistic to recover bodies
            You can argue semantics but clearly he believs the mine could not be safe to enter

            • Colonial Viper

              I want to hear it from mining experts, and why that is the case, not from a cop thanks.

        • Colonial Viper

          I don’t think the police are lying to us when they state it’s not possible to enter the mine. It’s sad & unfortunately, but is also reality.

          A ‘reality’? Do you accept the ‘reality’ you are given so easily without asking a few more questions???

          • NX

            Yeah, I want them recovered too Viper – I’m in complete agreement with you.

            • Colonial Viper

              Then why don’t you start by asking harder questions about why after just 4+ weeks they’ve given up on recovering the remains of the miners.

              • NX

                Because I choose to believe the information reported to us. I don’t think the police are lying about this.

                • Colonial Viper

                  Why choose faith in 30s media reports instead of asking deeper questions? Explains much. You don’t want the bodies recovered, you want to walk away without asking any more questions or even clarifications.

      • Pascal's bookie 7.2.2

        And the striking thing is that the family’s lawyer is asking for a bit more time, as is the union. It’s pretty clear that that both the union and the families have been left out of the loop. If they were in the loop, they’d have the information and understanding of the process that they are now asking for.

        That, combined with the confusion around passing responsibility around from police to receivers is what has caused the angst. The govt is responsible for that. The PM took ownership of being involved in this process and making sure the families and union were kept in the loop when he gave his ‘brothers keepers’ speech. If the families and the union don’t know what the fuck is going on, then Key needs to work on his follow through.

        School yard taunts about ‘why don’t you go down there then’ can just go fuck themselves.

  8. I find it amusing that DPF and the vast majority of his commenters savaged myself and a handful of others over several days for having the temerity to suggest that perhaps a “country cop” wasn’t qualified to speak on the issue – and that was at a time when there was still the faint possibility people were actually alive, and the knowledge of the people making decisions was quite literally a matter of life and death. Somehow, we were told, we were dishonouring the trapped miners by “point scoring”.

    Now those same people are suggesting that a union which is composed, inter alia, of engineers and miners, is talking out its arse on the topic when all that’s at stake (I mean that relative to what was at stake when the cops were running things) is forensic evidence.

    Hypocritical much?

    • Swampy 8.1

      But Mr W you come across as someone with just a bit to much loathing of the police yourself

      • orange whip? 8.1.1

        And with good reason no doubt.

        You, on the other hand Mr Swampy, come across as someone with a bit too much blind love for authority figures.

        Also, no doubt, with good reason.

  9. Graeme 9

    Any one here, including andrew little, that has a miracoulous idea on how to gain entry to that mine any time in the next fifty years, step forward. your country needs you.

    • Marty G 9.1

      we could continue with the operation, which is succeeding.

      but this is not so much about whether it is possible to get back into the mine but whether Key acted rightly in promising to bring to bodies out and then canceling the recovery operation without consultation (which he had promised) and without a clear, detailed explanation (which you would think they could surely provide and the families deserve to hear)

    • Colonial Viper 9.2

      that has a miracoulous idea on how to gain entry to that mine any time in the next fifty years

      Interesting how the right wing memes get picked up and repeated.

      Interesting how a month ago the recovery effort was practical and necessary, and now it is a 50 year impossibility.

    • vto 9.3

      Maybe nobody here Mr Graeme but those mining interests which have already shown considerable interest in the remaining asset, for mining purposes of course, I am sure will know how to get back into that mine.

      Many many consider the mine will be re-opened.

      Yet Key and Farrar say it will not be re-opened.

      well I don’t know – who do you believe in a situation like this?

    • NX 9.4

      Well said.

      • Colonial Viper 9.4.1

        And you said that you wanted the bodies recovered. Well how easily you surrender that noble objective..

  10. Graeme 10

    a month ago, the effort was worth it, totally. a month ago to give up without exporing all options would not have been acceptable. fact is all the best mining brains in the world have been consulted and this is the decision reached. it is now time to get on with getting on, let the commision do its work, let the families grieve, andrew little is as bad as you people paint john key for continueing to offer false hope as he is. sorry people but there are no points to score here.

    the poster acouple above, the section of the mine where those people are will not be opened any time soon. it is conceivably possible to continue to mine elsewhere and i guess thats whats being looked at. no matter what john key does, you people will always critisise. i get it, you all hate john key, and as such, sites such as this are obviously not good sources of opinion and ideas, for the record i cant stand kiwi blog either.

    i guess i dont belong here. lol.

    • vto 10.1

      well that was a waste of time then.

      might go back to where i was.

    • Marty G 10.2

      “no matter what john key does, you people will always critisise.”

      I don’t recall criticising his initial response to Pike River. I criticise him for not living up to his promises, not fronting up and explaining when he decided he couldn’t live up to his promises, and, then, lying about making those promises.

      • Pete 10.2.1

        What specifically did he promise?

        • Marty G

          oh goodie. I’ve been waiting for one of you righties to try to argue semantics (see I predicted it: http://thestandard.org.nz/a-failure-of-leadership-over-pike-river/#comment-287945).

          Here’s a partial list of Key’s promises (from Eddie’s post):

          * “the government would give whatever support is required”*
          * “for as long as it’s a recovery, we’ll be paying the bill”*
          * “It’s clearly been a large sum of money. But at the end of the day I gave a commitment to the families at Pike River I’d do everything I could to get their men out, I stand by that”*
          * “We are doing everything we can, and we will continue to, within the constraints of safety.”*

          Recovering the miner’s bodies was paramount. “I’m sure in due course that will be an absolute priority and an important part of giving closure to the families,” he said.

          disputed claims about his promise here:
          “He got on the bus and told us that whatever it costs, whatever it took, he promised he’d bring the boys home to their families,” she said

          There’s also near smoking gun quotes in this video, about 1/4 in:

          now, your reply (without really reading or checking the links) is: ‘he didn’t really promise’

          • NX

            I guess volatile gases won the day.

          • Pete

            I only get called a rightie here, I usually get called a leftie elsewhere.

            No point in arguing semantics (you called it that) on perceptions of what constitutes a promise. I wanted to know if there was anything else.

            On your second link you only posted one side of the story. You will be aware of what Key responded:

            “I never promised anyone that I could get the bodies out. What I did promise is that we could do everything we can to get those bodies out and at the end of the day I believe that the Government has done that and the police have – they have my one hundred percent support”.

            I think it’s sad to see people’s grief exploited by media and enveloped in political bickering.

            • Marty G

              I know that Key is now claiming he made no such promise, genius. That’s one of the aspects of his behaviour that has been reprehensible.

              • Pete

                Some obviously see it that way, or want to portray it that way. I don’t think the “promise” premise is wise, I don’t see what Key assured/promised/implied as an important issue. “Broken promise” and “failed leadership” comes across to me as a tactic looking at November rather than a sensible (and considerate) evaluation of the current situation. That approach doesn’t encourage my vote, in fact the opposite.

                • Marty G

                  “Some obviously see it that way”

                  Yes, as the quotes above show, Key did make that promise. As the quote you have referenced shows, he is now trying to deny ever having made that promise to cover for his shoddy behaviour in abandoning he recovery effort without adequate explanation or consultation with the families as he promised.

                  I’m not trying to win your vote, I don’t represent any party. I am giving my opinion. You are failing to make any kind of argument as to why it is OK that Key promises grieving families one thing, breaks his promise without the promised consultation, and then tries to deny making the promise.

                  Right now, you’re engaged in classic defence tactics, refusing to address each point I rise in rebuttal of your points and, instead, retreating to a new fallback – and you’ve finally reached ‘well, you’re right but you’re a meany’

                  • Pete

                    I don’t think your claim that Key “made a promise” to recover the bodies is very strong, seems to be mainly based on one family member thinking that’s what he said – their words, not necessarily his. Can’t be proven so pointless arguing about it.

                    If you think the rest imply “promises” then we can simply disagree.

                    I think “promises” and “leadership” are a political sideshow to a tragedy that’s bloody sad for many people.

                    • Marty G

                      I’ve given you a list of seven instances of Key making the promise. You’ve tried to discount one by calling a family member of one of the victims a liar. What about the other six?

                      “political sideshow” – this is a political website, we discuss political issues. If you think the Prime Minister of your country shouldn’t be accountable for the promises they make, you don’t believe in democracy.

                    • Pascal's bookie

                      “I think “promises” and “leadership” are a political sideshow to a tragedy that’s bloody sad for many people.”

                      Pete. Think about it. What was all that song and dance act that went down when Uncle Tom Cobley and all were making speeches and saying that the main priority was looking out for the families?

                      That was either real, or it was bullshit. At the time of the speeches, it’s impossible to know either way. You find out if it was bullshit or not when the later decisions get made. What processes are put in place to keep those families firmly in place as the most important stakeholders.

                      I suspect a decision was made to preempt speculation on what happens next when the JAG clapped out and the media conference was rushed without proper communication. Broad waffled too much, I don’t know if it was through lack of time to prepare or he just tends to waffle.

                      I’m sure they will have had a good idea about poor prospects for recovery, and the JAG wearing out could have been the clincher.

                      It’s possible Key was a part of the problem, it’s also possible he was put on the spot.

                      It seems that EPMU weren’t consulted sufficiently, but they should have made sure they were before speculating to the media.

                      If those fine words from the government were genuine, the families would know what the fuck was going on.

                      The police would know, because they would have had it bloody well drilled into them, that the families need to be kept in the loop.

                    • Colonial Viper

                      I think “promises” and “leadership” are a political sideshow to a tragedy that’s bloody sad for many people.

                      You loser.

                      Or to be more precise: Key basked in the media in the middle of the Pike River tragedy. He made grand promises. Now is time for him to show actual leadership and deliver – if he knows how – to back up his pretty PR words about doing right for the families at Pike River.

                      For you to let Key off the hook from this – shows you are missing a back bone.

                    • Pete

                      I’ve given you a list of seven instances of Key making the promise.

                      No you haven’t. None of those instances are of Key saying “I promise the men will be recovered”. You interpret them (or portray them) as promises, I don’t see it that way, I see them as reasonable assurances in the circumstances.

                      They seem to have given the recovery as good a shot as they can in very difficult circumstances. It seems to be still far too dangerous without much possibility of that changing in the foreseeable future. It seems to be pointless to argue over interpretations and semantics of statements made months ago, they need to deal with what they know and what they can and can’t achieve now.

                      Search and rescue often go to extraordinary lengths to try and recover bodies. It’s not always possible or practical to succeed. That’s how it looks to me here.

                      The families need to be left to accept the fate of their men and move on, they will continue grieving and won’t be helped by political posturing – neither will they be helped by false hopes of recovery now it seems to have been proven to be impractical.

                      If you want to hold Key to your interpretation of his words and expect him to ensure recovery is continued indefinitely until successful (if it can ever be successful), then you are setting an extremely high standard for statements and pledges from politicians – I think an impossible standard.

                      I’d be surprised if many people (beyond political wishful thinkers and agenda attempters) agree with or care about the promise premise when the realities look fairly obvious.

                    • orange whip?

                      Then it seems, Pete, that your quarrel is with the English language.

                      No matter how much you want it to be so, “whatever support is required” doesn’t mean the same thing as “whatever we deem reasonable in a couple of weeks”.

                      Whether you agree that it seems reasonable does nothing to change the meaning of the words either.

              • Swampy

                Why argue over semantics because everyone out there knows its impossible for anyone to make or keep such a promise, everyone would have the undersatanding that it might not be possible

                Now when this thread is started it is the same old rant about “broken promises” with a list (maybe not this thread but one of them has a list somewhere near the top of it)

                True this is a politics website but the position the writer is starting from is the same old one of essentially political attacks on Key which maybe in the writer;s view justified but in fact the only people who really can justify it are politicians and beltway people because the public at large dont really care what is being said in such sites as these

                Im pragmatic means I know that situationsa and circumstances change all the time what was promised may prove to be impossible to keep so in a nutshell that is probably what most people thinkg and the ones who arent are people politicaly opposed to John Key himself therefore biased (this most apparent when terms like “smile and wave” or Crosbyt Textor are used)

                • orange whip?

                  Swampy, you say “everyone out there knows its impossible for anyone to make or keep such a promise”

                  So we are pretty much on the same page then.

                  I say it’s not good enough for the PM to make promises he knows he can’t keep.

                  What about you?

              • Vicky32

                Yes, I heard him saying on 3 NEws that he had “never promised” and I just about vomited! (I remember when he did promise…)

            • felix

              “I only get called a rightie here, I usually get called a leftie elsewhere.”

              Then maybe you should stop hanging around ACT meetings and Klan rallies.

              Anyone else notice the increase of generic-christian-name posters here lately who despite being life-long lefties just have to sign in to defend John Key and his govt on everything they do?

              Weird, eh?

          • Swampy

            This list is all about semantcis & interpretation of what Key said
            & on this site does anyone ever have anything good to say about Key
            No, when key was out there making these promises he was “exploiting political opportunity”.

            • orange whip?

              As it turns out that’s exactly what he was doing.

              If he had kept his word I wouldn’t be able to say that, would I?

      • NX 10.2.2

        Howard Board was in charge of the recovery operation. There’s a royal commission of inquiry.

        • Kevin Welsh

          It’s Howard B R O A D.

          At least try and get his fucking name right.

          • Colonial Viper

            NX isn’t here to get any other frakin thing right so you are being well optimistic.

            • NX

              well, I’m sorry that you don’t believe that I would like to see the miner’s remains recovered.

              I don’t think our opinions differ that greatly (on this issue). The only real difference is that I believe Howard BROAD when he says it’s ‘safely unrealistic’ to recover the remains. Given the public’s interest in this, why would he mislead us.

          • NX

            Lol, okay I’ll try.

            Why so angry, like so many on this blog. I wonder what it would be like to share a beer with you chaps….

    • Colonial Viper 10.3

      no matter what john key does, you people will always critisise. i get it, you all hate john key, and as such,

      Frak it this is not a personality issue, John Key promised the families on national TV that every necessary effort and measure would be taken. 4 weeks later – nada, plug pulled.

      • Swampy 10.3.1

        Infact its alsmost 2 months since the explosion work has been going on since that time
        Now there have been 2 machines in place they are not working well enough this is the best technology available
        But it all comes down to Mining is inherently dangerous and even though it can be made safe this is too difficult to ensure completely without question
        Was reading overnight the history of Moura mines with 4 accidents in last 40 years with various loss of life & all the underground mines now sealed they do no more underground mining any more. The last accident sealed in 12 dead bodies back in 94.

        We are still a free and open enough country for political risks of coverup as some claim not to be worthwhile as these experts can all be approached and information released at the moment the families have got their own exprt who seems sadly mis informed But I expect the media will be applying for the release of the technical information and the pressure on the goverment to release it next week.

        • Colonial Viper

          Infact its alsmost 2 months since the explosion work has been going on since that time

          Everyone in Dec knew that the recovery process could take months. Both Brownlee and Key were adament that they would get the answers for the families and that the Govt would pay for the expensive, lengthy recovery operation.

          Yet 4 weeks later the rug gets pulled.

          But it all comes down to Mining is inherently dangerous and even though it can be made safe this is too difficult to ensure completely without question

          This is not about making mining risk free. Even brushing your teeth in the morning is not risk free.

          This is about understanding what went wrong at the coal face in Pike River, and how the accident happened. To do that you need direct access to the physical evidence in the mine.

      • I dont hate anybody C/V but I certainly have no affection for any Tory.
        I also would never trust any Tory and they certainly give me the creeps.
        Every time they are in Government they find an excuse to bash the workers and cut back on hard fought for working conditions. They legally avoid paying a fair share of tax but are not slow in reaping the benifits of services. Their well funded organizations ie.Federated Farmers ,Employers Federation ,Chamber of Commerce ad.nauseum are all anti worker and in fact have to much influence in National led governments.
        In almost eighty years of living I have never repeat never met a decent one .No C/V I dont hate them but I certainly remain very wary of them.
        When they double up with the “Good Christian ” claim Im on my scooter!.

  11. Robb 11

    Lets get some left leaning mining experts opinions on this before the mine gets sealed. The right leaning experts from NZ & Australia that think it’s a lost cause must be mates with JK hence the reluctance to proceed. Bloody righties will smear anything for political gain (Splitters!)

    • Marty G 11.1

      don’t be silly. what mining experts have said it’s impossible? Because they’re lining up to say it is possible http://nz.news.yahoo.com/a/-/top-stories/8655768/expert-confirms-mine-stability/

      and just on Wednesday they were saying the leaks in the mine that were letting in new oxygen to burn had been blocked. http://www.3news.co.nz/Pike-River-families-await-recovery-decision/tabid/423/articleID/194431/Default.aspx

      To my mind, the fact that this sudden canceling of the recovery effort came just after this big breakthrough is very odd.

      • Pete 11.1.1

        I agree that the way it suddenly came to this seems odd, but I’m not going to try and guess all the details. Perhaps Key could have handled this part of it better, we may find that out. And perhaps Labour could have taken a better punt on which position to take. It’s difficult balancing political wishes with respect for grieving families.

        • Pascal's bookie

          To me this is the whole point. The communication with the family and the union has quite obviously been nowhere near bloody good enough. And that is the governments fault. This was a tragedy that the nation felt and the nation expected the government, on our behalf, to do right by those workers and their families.

          Right now those families are saying they feel like they’ve been let down and they don’t know what is going on.

          Not fucking good enough.

          • Pete

            I don’t know how much is the fault of the government and how much is the fault of the police. I suspect a decision was made to preempt speculation on what happens next when the JAG clapped out and the media conference was rushed without proper communication. Broad waffled too much, I don’t know if it was through lack of time to prepare or he just tends to waffle.

            I’m sure they will have had a good idea about poor prospects for recovery, and the JAG wearing out could have been the clincher.

            It’s possible Key was a part of the problem, it’s also possible he was put on the spot.

            It seems that EPMU weren’t consulted sufficiently, but they should have made sure they were before speculating to the media.

            • Colonial Viper

              It seems that EPMU weren’t consulted sufficiently, but they should have made sure they were before speculating to the media.

              and how exactly do you expect the EPMU to force information out of the police and the receivers when they have been deliberately left out of the loop?

            • The Voice of Reason

              “It seems that EPMU weren’t consulted sufficiently, but they should have made sure they were before speculating to the media.”

              Can you see the inherent contradiction in that sentence, Pete? How is the union supposed to “make sure” that is consulted if those in charge at Pike River won’t talk to them or the families?

    • Pete 11.2

      You know which experts have been consulted, and which way they lean politically? Can you share the details?

      • Colonial Viper 11.2.1

        Yeah the experts should lean politically towards engineering competence and technical expertise.

        • Rex Widerstrom

          Muhammedonabike, thank you! That’s it, in a nutshell.

          Personally for me it comes down to whether Andrew consulted his members (EPMU, not party) with mining and engineering expertise and, if he did, whether his comments reflected their views. If so, then they’re a vitally important contribution to the debate. If not, then WTF was he thinking?

          It’d be really helpful if he were to clarify that point, actually…

          • The Voice of Reason

            C’mon, Rex, Little is the leader of the union and has been on the ground from the start. This is a big deal for the EPMU; over a dozen of those killed were members. If he didn’t reflect their views, the miners themselves would be quick to point that out. They’re not known to be shy when it comes to expressing an opinion, eh?

  12. Swampy 12

    I think its quiote telling every time andrew little gets attacked someone will start a whole thread on it here like little cant defend himself or like what farrar said really matters its only a blog

    • millsy 12.1

      Swampy, if you hate unions so much, then move to China, then you get to see union leaders staring down the barrel of a gun.

      The fact is that unions have done so much to lift this countrys living standards – in 1981, we had way better living standards than we do now, and I would rather have strikes shutting down this country, than employers treating their workers like dirt.

      • Swampy 12.1.1

        Dirts a good description of how anyone who opposes union hegomony is treated, political dissenters the public and anyone else who complains

        Till 1990 most of unions much more than today were afiliated to Labour party and anyone who was signed up to a member of a union was theerfore automaticaly signed up to Labour party whether they want to be or not, the uniion leadership took there proxy votes to the party conference so they were voting for resoliutions in Labour party

        in my first job mid 80s my mate told me how he took a court case against Cleaners union to win the right to be allowed to concentoulsy object to compulsry union membership as existed at that time. CUM was let out by Bolger in 1983 then Labour toadys reinstated it 1984 then finaly got rid of 1991 but now is back for collecvtie agreerments which is union monipoly.

        however we still have the right to be on indiividual contract free of union memebership and there political camapaign and causes. when you say you woulkd rather have strikes shutting down this country you mean unions runn ing the country well we do not elect union leaders to be a second goverment we go to the polls to elect a goverment and havign your model of union leadership challenging the goverment is underminning democracy but of course many of the unioon leaders admire countrys like Chine Cuba and sovites where theres no democracy at all.

        • millsy

          A decent standing of living for ALL NEW ZEALANDERS will result from ‘unions running the country’.

          And if that waitress you fired for leaving work to pick up her sick kid was a union member then you will deserve what you get. A good stringing up. (Fuck if I was there I would do it myself.)

          A decent standard of living for all workers is more importtant than your flat screen TV,

          • millsy

            By the way, your mate was a nasty evil scab, who did nothing but bring down wages for his fellow workers.

            And yes, I would be happy to say that to his face, just before I kick it in.

        • Colonial Viper

          underminning democracy but of course many of the unioon leaders admire countrys like Chine Cuba and sovites where theres no democracy at all.

          Sorry mate you must be living in the 1970’s.

          The Left is about Social Democracy and Democratic Socialism now. We’ve learnt from the failures of old school Communism and from the failures of capitalism. The future will be different to both.

    • IrishBill 12.2

      or like what farrar said really matters its only a blog

      The Standard’s also only a blog. So what’s your point again?

  13. Rharn 13

    There was always the chance the the ‘twentynine’ would never be recovered. Key for political reasons led the families to believe otherwise.

    Little is correct in stating that evidence will not be found in the mine. However he is on shaky ground if he is asserting that the mine was closed (for concealing evidence) for this reason. He may well be right given the lack of moral fibre that this government has displayed in the past but I would need some clear evidence that all efforts ‘have not been made’ to bring out the twenty nine miners. Someone needs to answer some hard questions. Who were the three experts that the police took advisement to close the mine, and based on what etc.

  14. Marjorie Dawe 14

    It is interesting that our fair weather friend let someone else make the announcement that the rescue effort would cease. Is this because he doesnt like to to be seen as a negative person? Sorry, Mr Prime Minister, but life isnt all about photo opps and meaningless rhetoric. Some people suffer and like the personal touch in bad times and sometimes even worse times. Most would expect that promises be kept and realise that sometimes it is also not possible. Front up John Key and give these people some justifiable reasons for not keeping your promise.

    • McFlock 14.1

      “fair weather friend” – spot on.

      Every goddamn minister with the slightest excuse was at the photo=ops and press conferences when there was the possibility of a Chilean-style miracle, then they promenaded their “support” at the memorial service, but the task of delivering the bad news of the broken promises was left to the police.


      • Marjorie Dawe 14.1.1

        I think we need to coin a new term to describe our PM. Do you think that “Fair Weather John” would catch on??

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