Gerry Brownlee promised the West Coast a stimulus package. “The government” has now ruled that out. John Key never fronts bad news (see: Christchurch’s hopes of still hosting RWC games) to keep his nice-guy persona shiny, but in this case no-one wants to front it.
Pike River Coal’s 80 contractors and suppliers – many who lost workmates and friends – are owed about $7 million and were told they’d get government help – but instead they seem to be getting government neglect.
The government may yet fund an Events Centre as a memorial to the 29 dead, and try and get as many of the out-of-pocket contractors to work on it as they can. But the work will be a lot less than the debts the contractors face, and mine workers aren’t necessarily Events Centre builders.
The question has to be asked – if the government is willing to leave the victims of the Pike River disaster in the lurch, how much can those in Christchurch trust the government’s promises to look after them?