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Front on Pike River

Written By: - Date published: 9:57 am, January 14th, 2011 - 75 comments
Categories: john key, workers' rights - Tags: ,

Sad news for Coasters. Recovery of bodies at Pike River abandoned. Key promised ‘whatever it takes’ to get them out. He’s breaking his word. He should front up and justify it. Instead, he’s hiding from the media.

75 comments on “Front on Pike River ”

  1. orange whip? 1

    Whatever it takes…

    I won’t raise GST…

    No privatisation…

    North of $50 a week…

    I’ll do the dishes later…

    The cheque’s in the post…

    etc etc

  2. tc 2

    Sideshow is such a muppett, chuck this promise on top of all his others in a pile marked ‘It all started with a election campaign…’ or similar.

    He’s going to find out this year that the role of being a PM actually carries expectations of a level of integrity and committment that he’s simply not capable of attaining.

    The Clown is caught out yet again.

  3. Leadership is such a bitch. The people expect you to keep your promises …

    No doubt the RWNJs will say that the left is politicising the issue. It was politicised as soon as smile and wave did his bit and used the events for political advancement. Now with a certain amount of irony it is going to turn on him because he made a promise that is being trashed.

    The pass the hand grenade behaviour is interesting. The police are saying it is the resonsibility of the receivers, they will say it is the responsibility of the state, and Key is nowhere to be seen.

    I bet he wishes he stayed in Hawaii.

    • Lanthanide 3.1

      On balance, I think the public at large everywhere outside the wast coast will prefer the recovery attempt to be called off due to expense, and would be angrier if Key insisted on keeping his promise.

      So I don’t think this is going to reflect badly on Key at all.

      My dad, who grew up on the coast, said that if this had happened in the 70’s, they would’ve been down the mine on the first day. They wouldn’t have had police saying it was too unsafe to go down. He said that there used to be mine-rescue guys walking around town in their respirators, training with them to see how long they could keep wearing them etc, and would also regularly do training exercises in the mines.

      I think if something like this happens again, they’ll be much more likely to go down ASAP.

      • mickysavage 3.1.1

        I think the public at large everywhere outside the wast coast will prefer the recovery attempt to be called off due to expense, and would be angrier if Key insisted on keeping his promise

        I have mixed feelings about the first part of your sentence but if Key did not intend to keep his promise he should not have made it.

        there used to be mine-rescue guys walking around town in their respirators, training with them to see how long they could keep wearing them

        The problem with corportisation and the use of contractors is that such behaviour is considered “quaint” and if there is an effect on the bottom line support for this would be continued. And the attempts by management to deunionise the site meant that the commitment to safety also lessened.

      • Sanctuary 3.1.2

        Lanthanide, I think you are missing the point. This isn’t about the decision to stop efforts to recover the bodies. This is about the disgraceful, cowardly and craven abandonment of the families of the victims now the political opportunity has been milked for everything it was worth. Key and the rest of his cabinet fell over themselves to be seen and heard when this disaster occurred. Now, when there is some bad news, Key can’t be seen. That isn’t leadership. That is the actions of a moral coward, sopmeone who sees not twenty nine dead men and their grieving families but instead only the media angle, and who weakly allows himself to be led by equally bankrupt whispering advisors.

        We’ve seen before John Key’s moral cowardice – notably in his failure to immediately confront Paul Henry over his “not a real Kiwi” comments. But this is final proof, surely.

        A nation’s leader fronts the big stories, good or bad. Key is not a leader. Like a lot of corporate suits, he has no moral compass and no moral courage. The only thing he sees is his own ambition.

    • Swampy 3.2

      If Key was using this event for political purposes then so by definition was every politician that went over there inc;uding the Labour party, Andrew Little and Goofy etc

      Now perhaps you even would stoop to consider that the PM has a role as leader of our nation that is separate from his political role. That is to make the leadeship of the country in times such as these.

  4. Carol 4

    It seems the recovery effort was cancelled for logistical reasons. Gerry Brownlee says it has not been called off for financial reasons:


    Brownlee told Radio New Zealand this morning that the recovery operation was not being stopped for financial reasons.

    The decision was not an issue of money, but after weeks of trying to stabilise the mine it was now up to the receivers to decide how long efforts could continue, he said.

    He said the receivers needed to ”step up” and submit their plan for the mine by 5pm on Monday.

    I’m not sure what GB’s ultimatum means.

  5. Jen 5

    Yes, John Key should front this issue. If the decision has been made to stop the recovery, he should front up and explain why (and I don’t think many people will disagree that strongly with the decision, no matter what he promised) but good leadership demands accountablity and it’s just frankly disrespectful to the those families to whom he did make a personal commitment.

  6. Afewknowthetruth 6

    John Key is an opportunistic sociopath, as are all leaders in western ‘democracies’.

    His replacement will be an opportunistic sociopath.

    That’s the system.

  7. Anthony K 7

    Show some respect. If not for Key at least for the people affected by this tragedy. Some things are better left alone instead of being used for petty politics and smeared all over a blog. Take the post down. There are enough other things to write about.

    [lprent: Like it or not, this tragedy raises some important questions about mine safety and for that matter the difference between what is said and what is done (as Z is pointing out). Both of those are political questions and this is a political blog. If you don’t like it then don’t read it.

    Whining about it is simply stupid. Telling us what to do on our own site is an attempt at self-martyrdom. Read the policy to find out how I like assisting the process. ]

    • Kevin Welsh 7.1

      Exactly LP. If the mine is sealed up it will make any inquiry difficult as a lot of the evidence needed will be unobtainable as it is underground.

      Anyone seen ‘Saint’ Peter on tv lately?

      • Swampy 7.1.1

        So he has not been seen in public for the last month while every politician out there is grandtanding to get there name on TV for all it is worth

        Mr Whittal chose not to comment when the unions attacked him for being portrayed as a hero. He was just doing his job as the CEO of the company. John key is just doing his job as CEO in effect of our country. All the whiners cant quite bring thesmselves to admit that is what they should be doing. Perhaps you would rather Whittal had run off like that diver idiot when the mine blew up. And if John Key had not take on the leadership role he is expected to do as OUR PRIME MINISTER AND LEADER OF OUR COUNTRY every man and his dog would be attacking him and I am sure you and your kind would be top of the list.

        Most of the attack on John Key is people who hate him no matter what and thefore have nothing useful to contribute to this thrread.

    • Bright Red 7.2

      I think what’s offensive is promising one thing to people coping with tragedy then doing another without having the decency to front up and explain yourself.

    • Blighty 7.3

      Hey old boy, if you’re so worried about bloggers causing offense, check out David Farrar trying to justify the stopping of the recovery operation:

      “From what I have read of conditions in the mine, there may not have been much in the way to recover – perhaps some bones and teeth. If the temperatures have been over 1000 degrees as some reports suggest, then it could be just teeth.”

      Tasteless and insensitive – Farrar is too keen to show he his a smartypants (‘look at me, I know what happens to bodies at high temperatures’) and too keen to defend the government.

      Btw. I think most would agree it’s not necessarily the stopping of the recvoery operation that’s the problem it’s the shoddy manner in which it has been done. I see Phil Goff is making that point too:

      “It may be that recovery is impossible for safety reasons and people would understand that, but it was always anticipated that this would be a long exercise, and it has actually been reported today that the rescue team operating the gag machine believe the last two days of their work have been the best they have had.

      “If cost without significant chance of recovery is a key factor, then the Government should simply be straight with the families and say that. At least we would know that is the real reason,” Phil Goff said.

      “Instead families have been left in limbo with the impression of buck-passing and of bad news about the recovery operation being drip-fed.”

      • Swampy 7.3.1

        This so called report has not appeared in any media. It is pure speculation and gossip that Goff is parroting.

        On the other hand Key states quite believably that the Queensland government asked for their machinery back. That is has been here far longer in use than any other mine they worked at. That ists so clear it wont work because it has worked so hard it is about to fall apart yet the mine is still not stabkle and the first reports said it should have the mine fixed up in 5-8 days yet its now 35 days

    • Hamish Gray 7.4

      Yes it does raise important issues about mine safety…. none of which are discussed in this misguided attempt at political point-scoring. Farrar talking about the bodyparts is poor taste – this is another category of sick, born of ignorance of the technical issues involved and authors blinded by an attempt to politicise everything going because they feel wronged… kinda like martyrs, one might say.

      LPrent – you moderate this site like a petulent teenager, stifling criticism and resorting to name-calling – no one’s trying to be a “martyr”. So much for a safe place to debate and critique centre-left policies/strategies. Maybe a little reflection at your treasured site policies is in order to raise the bar of The Standard, rather than simply linking people to them constantly. Would save you time, no?

      Yeah yeah I know – “banned forever”. Like it matters.

      • lprent 7.4.1

        I suspect that you don’t understand the purpose of that particular moderation and the objectives of moderation on this site (or more likely haven’t thought it through).

        1. The intent of moderation is to get effective discussion with the least amount of time required by me and others to execute the moderation task. The most efficient way to do it is to ensure that people self moderate their behaviour
        2. That was a comment by an apparently new commentator who decided to use it for being critical of what an author wrote. They didn’t bother to explain why they thought it was a bad idea. They just attacked the author and the site. Don’t you consider that to be foolish behaviour ? I certainly do.
        3. As a new commentator, they got referred to the policy because this will ensure that they don’t have an excuse to waste my time in the future.
        4. I practice a responsive approach when I have to moderate. I always attack people who attack. I’m always snide with people who are snide. I’m sarcastic with people who are sarcastic. I’m insulting to people who are insulting. And I act like a teen to peoples whose behaviour is that of a teen.That is primarily to assist in training them to be better citizens on the net by seeing what they look like to others. The difference is that I’ve usually had decades more experience at how to communicate on the net in a way that will resonate with them. By going straight over the top and being effective at their level I’ve found that it reduces my workload in the future.
        5. You’re considerably overstating how much we ban. Bans take a lot of work. Effective warnings are more efficient. The number of permanent bans on the site is listed at 18 identities (some of which are people operating under different identities). There are 3 people currently listed for auto-moderation for various reasons, one of whom (alfa) is in a timed ban. Bearing in mind the thousands of commentators on the site per month (and tens of thousands of lurkers), that is a ridiculously low percentage. People self-moderate their behaviour because we hit them the first time they exhibit bad behaviours and we hit them hard.
        6. There are only a few opinions that we will moderate people on – mostly bigotry of one form or another. But we will moderate behaviour every time. It means that there is a lot of disagreement in the discussions, but little persistent disagreeable behaviour except by me and irish. That is why we do it.

        In other words, it is a role that I play to get a desired result. Clearly you don’t understand that.

        You’re always welcome to get your own blog running and try to figure out how to do it differently. But this is probably one of the few blogs around NZ with anything like the volume of comments that we have. It is also one of the very few NZ blogs with a high proportion of female commentators. The reason for that is the level and type of moderating required.

        • pollywog

          …and speaking of bans and the penguin

          i’m still banned for a minor infraction that racked up my demerits enough to warrant a one week stand down at KKKiwiblog, and that was maybe a month ago ???

          i s’pose he’s waiting for me to email him, bow down and kiss his arse to be allowed back in to play amongst the lowlife that infest his wee shithole…

          …theres more chance of getting the miners back to their families than that ever happening

          • Deadly_NZ

            You went to KKkiwiblog??? hell man you could get your brain fried there. Almost a reason for a ban lol. I do admit i went there once but never again..

            [lprent: No it isn’t. However behaving like a sewer rat here would be. ]

          • lprent

            In KB’s case I suspect that DPF is on holiday.

            One of the reasons that we don’t use bans much in quantity is because of the administrative nightmare of unbanning. Since I enforce the bans and do most of the work in making sure people don’t violate them, I also have a strong incentive to minimize that effort. I tend to prefer see if a little practical operant psych will work more effectively to get the desired result.

            The result is that my half-written ban control plugin is still half written (I didn’t like the ones I found available in 2009) because the number of banning reduced after we’d convinced everyone when given, then I would enforce them vigorously.

            People started taking notice of the warnings much more carefully after that. Changing to the threaded comment model also helped because people who weren’t fire’n’forget trolls when reading replies would see the warnings.

  8. Bright Red 8

    Maggie Barry said that Key’s leadership over Pike River inspired her to stand for National in Botany.

    I wonder if she’s still so taken with that leadership.

    • Draco T Bastard 8.1

      Considering that Key’s “leadership” of the Pike River disaster was pure media handling (aka, lies and misdirection) and that she’s a journalist who understands how these things work – probably.

  9. Graeme 9

    only a rabid lefty would be taking this stance, any opportunity to sink the boot in huh?

    key promised to do all that could be done, all that could be done up to this point has been done. i dont like key as much as the next, but this shit makes me ashamed to be a labour supporter. the rantings on this website at times are worse than the rantings on kiwiblog, and get close to whale oil, this is really tipping the scales.

    you should be ashamed of your selves.

    • orange whip? 9.1

      No he didn’t Graeme, you’re either lying or misinformed.

      Key promised to do whatever it takes, not whatever he could or whatever was convenient or whatever he felt like or whatever was expedient or whatever Graeme reckons is enough for a mellopuff.

      Whatever it takes.

      • Swampy 9.1.1

        So then you must be pretending you know what that is

        Why not admit we have had the world beating best experts over here and they all agree that nothing more can be done to get the mine safe to enter.

    • Rharn 9.2

      Key needs to explain that ‘all has been done.’ Failure to do so is the act of political ‘degenerate.’

    • Colonial Viper 9.3

      You’re a Labour Supporter, Graeme? Yeah sure and if you put wagon wheels on my Aunt, she would be a race car.

  10. Rharn 10

    The only good news from this mess is Chris Auchinvole MP
    West Coast-Tasman, can start looking for new job.

  11. Blighty 11

    I wonder who’s going to be covering the ETS cost of the ongoing CO2 and methane emissions from the mine. It’s obviously still burning, which is why they can’t go in. So, those greenhouse gases must be going into the atmosphere, and no company to pay for them.

    A $300 million investment totalled. Going to be hard on the coast’s economy.

    • Colonial Viper 11.1

      Wasn’t all that flash jet engine gear supposed to take care of that?

      • Lanthanide 11.1.1

        Yes, but it hasn’t. So we can now add the CO2 emitted by the GAG engine to the total bill, as well.

        The biggest problem they’d have with the mine is that the entrance shaft goes uphill for quite a long distance. Light and hot gases such as methane will tend to rise up and pool at the highest point in the mine, whereas cold gases (such as is being pumped by the GAG) will tend to pool at the lowest point in the mine. If this had been a traditional mine going down underground, a lot of the methane would’ve been naturally rising out of the hole, and likewise the water vapour and nitrogen from the GAG would settle at the bottom of the mine, and eventually fill itself up. But with the mine effectively being up-hill, the opposite occurs: the methane gets trapped, and the water vapour and nitrogen will just fall back out of the mine entrance due to gravity.

        • Colonial Viper

          They need a lighter than air, reasonably inert gas. Doubly tricky because the hot expanded gases at the top of the mine are not going to accept the travel of denser colder gas.

          • Bill Browne

            Surely any of the Australian or NZ “mining experts” could have told them that even before they started or was the machine just to show that “something was being done” just like sending in the robots (an idea that came directly from the 9th floor).

            • Lanthanide

              As I understand, while these GAG things have been around for a few years, they still aren’t used all *that* often (as there aren’t that many mine disasters where they’re required). The mine situation as I’ve outlined it has some obvious hurdles to overcome, which I’m sure the the operator’s would’ve known. But it was still worth trying, especially as when they first brought the engine in things weren’t looking too bad in terms of being able to put the fire out.

            • Swampy

              It has worked very well overseas
              But like someone else said the Pike mine is a funny design

              Gag technology was used to blow out oil well fires after the Gulf war it is well proven and there are now companies making the things from sratch (not like Queensland which has a n adapted jet engine).

        • pollywog

          …sounds like they should be pumping down one of the exploded vents rather than the main entrance then ???

          • Lanthanide

            Looking at the footage of those vents/boreholes, they probably weren’t big enough. Mines that go underground also slope in at an angle so trucks etc can drive down, whereas the holes you’re talking about would’ve been vertical or very near too. Not so easy to rig a jet-engine up vertically to have it blow gas down a hole.

            • Swampy

              They can drill but risk a methane explosion whenn they break through as well as oxygen getting in the whole point is to try to seal up the mine to starve out the fire

              The one vent that was big enough has acted like a chimney with the fire roaring out if it before they started at the entrance so that was a no brainer. As the design of the mine would have air going in the entrance then rising out like a chimney in the fire.

  12. Graeme 12

    i am part of what seems to be a dieing breed, i am a paid member, but just like the far right wingers make me sick, so does the majority of whats posted here, and in this instance this is despicable.

    • Colonial Viper 12.1

      Suggest you get some extra and love and happiness into your life mate. You’re sounding like you need it.

    • The Voice of Reason 12.2

      What is despicable, Graeme, is saying you’ll get the men out, then, when, for practical reasons, that can’t happen, not having the spine to front up and say ‘sorry, but I can’t come through on that promise’. Key is a gutless wonder. He supposedly came back from holiday early to co-ordinate our response to the Queensland floods. More glory hunting, more photo ops. But come the tuff stuff, he’s nowhere to be seen.

      This isn’t a labour party site, either, so don’t throw away your gold pin just yet, brother.

  13. Carol 13

    Comment from Key quoted on RNZ,

    Prime Minister John Key says he believes everything possible has been done to recover the remains of the men who died in the Pike River coal mine.

    The mine is being handed back to the receivers, PricewaterhouseCoopers.

    Relatives of some of the men say the police decision to stop the recovery operation has been made too quickly and they are devastated.

    They feel Mr Key has backtracked on his promise to ensure every effort would be made to get the remains out.

    But Mr Key says he stands 100% behind the police decision.

    plus other diverse and conflicting views, including from Andrew Little and the CTU.


    And now this breaking news:


    • The Baron 13.1

      Well well well, looks like Key has fronted up after all then huh Zettie, and all you other lefty fanbois.

      And yes, Mickey, I think it is pretty damn disgusting how Zet decided to play political football on this. I’m inclined to think that Key expressed the right desire at the right time, as a show of compassion and support for what they were going through. What would you propose that he said instead to those families? And would you rather that he doggedly stuck to his statement at the risk of lives too?

      You people disgust me. Not everything comes down to scoring points for your favourite team.

      • Colonial Viper 13.1.1

        You people disgust me. Not everything comes down to scoring points for your favourite team.

        Yeah, but beating on beneficiaries makes you happy so go figure. Its election year and we are going to give the NATs a very hard run. Keep those sea sickness pills handy buddy you will need them.

        • The Baron

          Don’t think I’ve ever commented on beneficiaries there CV, so I’ll thank you to take that back.

          And who cares what I think? If you think that the 6% of swing voters Labour needs to win are going to be impressed by politicising things like the PMs comments on a tragedy like this, then I suspect you are sadly mistaken.

          • Colonial Viper

            Don’t think I’ve ever commented on beneficiaries there CV, so I’ll thank you to take that back.

            Hey, if I’ve read you wrong then I’ll certainly apologise. A simple statement from you that you do not approve of beneficiary bashing in any form by politicians and I will recognise that I have maligned you unfairly and I will then apologise to you fully and immediately.

            If you think that the 6% of swing voters Labour needs to win are going to be impressed by politicising things like the PMs comments on a tragedy like this

            The West Coasters will decide who they want for an MP soon enough.

            • Colonial Viper

              In retrospect looks like you won’t be getting any apology from me Mr Baron.

              I simply object to a handout parasite like deb here telling me to be ashamed for paying her fair share too.

              Who is being selfish again? When are you gonna start contributing your share too deb – or is our society all my responsibility?

              Can we afford poverty?

              • The Baron

                I was wondering whether you would do a search. Touche. Though I would argue provocation in that case.

      • The Voice of Reason 13.1.2

        Yep, after refusing to front all morning, John Boy has realised he is getting a caning on the blogs, talkbacks and around the water cooler for his moral cowardice and has finally broken his silence. Well done, Zetetic; the closer we get to the election, the more fun it’ll be making Key twitch and squirm.

        • The Baron

          Kevin: “The Standard has the scoop that you haven’t commented on not getting the miners out, despite the pretty good chance of all the recovery team members dying!”

          JK: “Oh dear god, clearly the opinion of free thinking, non-partisan NZ is against me, if this left wing attack blog is anything to go by!”

          Wow, talk about delusions of grandeur. Dare I suggest that the only people who give a f*ck about what you, I or Zetty think are the other readers of this blog (and even that is over playing it to a massive degree)?

          • The Voice of Reason

            You’d be wrong, Baron. Stealing ideas from blogs is second on the to do list of the MSM, just behind changing the name on the press release and calling it journalism.

            And the criticism of Key is not about sending more people to their deaths (I’ve been against that from the start and said so here), it’s about his craven unwillingness to front on an issue when it makes him look bad. Luckily for him, Stuff managed to find a stock photo of John Looking Sad to illustrate the article written when he finally spoke, having realised how bad the silence was making him look.

      • Bright Red 13.1.3

        what’s ‘playing political football’ about saying ‘you made a promise, explain why you’re breaking it’?

        I note Key now has done exactly what this post advises.

        • The Baron

          Explain why he is breaking it?

          Is “because there is a good chance the recovery team will die too” not good enough for you?

          • Marty G

            We understand why he is breaking the promise. The issue is he shouldn’t have made that promise. And he should have fronted form the start when he decided to break it.

  14. QoT 14

    I love the apologists on this one. Newflash, John Key was not forced at gunpoint to use such blatantly stupid, risky language as “whatever it takes”. He could’ve said “we will do what we can” or “I will push for a recovery operation if that’s at all feasible” or “I want Howard Broad to examine every possibility”.

    Then what do you know, he’d have made an Inspiring Aspirational Statement and still had wiggle room to back down. You’d think for someone so often held up as a “smart political operative” that would just be the obvious thing to do …

  15. Nick C 15

    “Key promised ‘whatever it takes’ to get them out. He’s breaking his word.”

    Can we get a link for that?

    “He should front up and justify it”

    He has: http://www.stuff.co.nz/national/4540331/PM-Pike-River-Coal-mine-to-be-sealed

    And Zetetic upholds his reputation for being the stupiest poster on this blog (and that is saying something). I sometimes re read this post for a bit of a laugh: http://thestandard.org.nz/foreign-banks-buggering-nz/

    • Bright Red 15.1

      “He has”

      after 20 hours of criticism and after avoiding Morning Report, he finally fronted up for a soft inteview on Newstalk ZB. But, fair call, he did front up – Just like this post demanded he do!

      What a silly post it was, saying the PM had got it wrong, only for the PM to correct his behaviour in exactly the way the post suggested mere hours later. Silly, silly post.

    • higherstandard 15.2

      Crikey I thought some of the recent threads were a bit raw but that one is the twilight zone.

  16. kriswgtn 16

    Smile and wave’s very quick @ trying to get a invite isnt he


    shows where his priorities lie
    maybe hes hoping Obama might be there LOL

    He also has pledged aid to Brisbane LOL
    what a cock

  17. Swampy 17

    Wrong again
    If you had just waited until he did his press conference you wouldnt be looking like you have your foot in your mouth most of the time.

    They have done whatever it takes which has prove that it is impossible to make the mine safe to be eentered. period.

  18. vto 18

    If it is not possible to open the mine (to retrieve the dead men) then how is it possible that the receiver and other commentators and mining experts believe there is still a realisable (i.e. openable) mine there with a value in the billions?

    a large deception is afoot.

    • Swampy 18.1

      In theory its possible to develop another part of the mine just like Strongman which continued mining even though part of its sealed up on fire and 2 bodies left inside

      Sounds like how Chernobyl kept running after one of their reactors blow up

      • lprent 18.1.1

        Could be quite difficult in this case.

        • Swampy

          Just about any development there is difficult if the commission finds the design is too tricky

          • Colonial Viper

            I know what, why don’t they keep working on how to get the bodies out rather than starting work on how to get the coal out.

            Although I accept that while there is plenty of profit for shareholders associated with getting the coal out, there are only costs and potential embarrassment for shareholders associated with getting the men out and determining how the explosion was caused in the first place.

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