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NRT: Betrayal at Pike River

Written By: - Date published: 4:09 pm, November 6th, 2014 - 80 comments
Categories: disaster, john key, Mining, workers' rights - Tags: , ,

From I/S at No Right Turn.


Betrayal at Pike River

Since the Pike River explosion in 2010, John Key has given repeated, personal assurances that his government will do whatever it takes to recover the bodies. In November 2010 he said it was “an absolute priority”. In 2011, he said it was not a question of cost, but of “doing everything we practically could to get the bodies of the victims out of the mine.” The Pike River families believed those assurances, and believed the government would do the right thing.

Today, John Key betrayed them.

Yes, the decision is technically in the hands of Solid Energy – but they’re government-owned and government-appointed; Key can direct them if he wants to. The government’s own safety experts say a recovery mission can be done safely. So why isn’t Solid Energy keen? Because it would cost money, and they clearly don’t believe they’ll ever be able to mine coal from Pike River economically. The last two years have been about them working that out, then delaying the inevitable announcement that they were planning to walk away from their responsibilities.

The government made a promise to the victims of a disaster – a disaster partly caused by its own lax regulations. It broke that promise. We all need to hold them accountable for that.

 

80 comments on “NRT: Betrayal at Pike River ”

  1. Heather 1

    Yes it is a shocking, cruel and heartless betrayal. Key led the families on, time and time again, that something would be done, but once again to no avail.
    The grief today in Greymouth will again, be terrible. Shame on John Key and his heartless National Government.

  2. Aerobubble 2

    Two miles. We got to the moon. Two miles. There’s a rover on mars. Two miles and nobody wants to grab the potential of remote underground recon. Private public partnership to invest in tech to search underground, to survey…
    …obvious no money in that.

  3. Bob 3

    Looking for solutions here, Solid Energy have found that they can’t proceed due to the risk, why doesn’t Solid Energy just lease the mine land to the families for 12 months for $1 so they can allow the Australian miners who have stated they are happy to re-enter the mine to do so?
    Wouldn’t that remove the risk from Solid Energy and force John Key put his money where his mouth is on helping to fund the re-entry?

  4. Andrew Welsh 4

    Re-entering the mine carries risks, regardless of how safe the ‘experts’ say. Having spent some of my best years flying around rescuing people, we always based our decision making on ‘risk nothing for that which is already lost’.

    • RedLogixFormes 4.1

      Which is a fair enough assessment Andrew. In that case how do you feel about John Key’s repeated promises to the families that implied the exact opposite?

      A cynical appeasement of public anger and a deflection from the role his government played in the disaster?

      Or a stupid promise he should have never made – and should now take some responsibility for?

      • finbar 4.1.1

        I recall his promise saying to the families “they are playing with your emotions,i shall do everything possible to bring your men home’.

        Now he is the one playing with the famillies emotions,giving them yet again false hope that he will get the crown offices to look into the possibility of a private prosecution of individuals knowing full well that that is not going to be a runner.

        Yet again slippery John,distancing himself from the issue by passing the buck to the Crown offices and when the decision comes out,i have been advised by my officials at the Crown offices that there is nothing that can be done.

    • McFlock 4.2

      Apart from the fact that it’s not just about recovery of bodies – getting to the site could well recover evidence of what actually happened, and might help save future lives.

      But don’t kid yourself. Solid Energy’s reasons aren’t about risks, they’re about the lack of rewards.

      • RedLogixFormes 4.2.1

        getting to the site could well recover evidence of what actually happened,

        Include me among those who still harbour a suspicion that this was the very last thing they wanted.

        Colour me tin-foil if you like.

        • McFlock 4.2.1.1

          Well, even without the full-tinfoil brigade, it might well have preserved a snapshot of what self-regulated industries end up regarding as normal, acceptable practise. The vent/alleged escape shaft was bad enough, but it would be very interesting to see exactly what safety equipment was actually functioning down there vs what was claimed to be there on paper. In addition to any bypasses/tampering.

          • RedLogixFormes 4.2.1.1.1

            Exactly. I did read the entire Royal Commission report and the one thing that stood out like dogs balls was just how much crucial information was lost because no-one was allowed to enter.

            While I can fully sympathise with the personal situation of the families very much; in the bigger picture it was this gross failure to fully investigate which pisses me off the most.

            • Chooky 4.2.1.1.1.1

              where the bodies are sited in the mine would be very interesting…and how many could have survived for days but trapped with no other emergency exit out…this could be very damning …and a possible reason why the company has never wanted to go in and investigate

    • Kiwiri - Raided of the Last Shark 4.3

      Re-entering the mine carries risks

      Re-entering the mine carries risks of uncovering damning evidence against Solid Energy. FIFY.

  5. BM 5

    Can’t be done, time to move on.

    • Kiwiri - Raided of the Last Shark 5.1

      Along the same lines, not worth doing, time to move on.

      • BM 5.1.1

        No, not safe enough.

        • Kiwiri - Raided of the Last Shark 5.1.1.1

          not safe enough for the CEO …
          not safe enough for the Board …
          not safe enough for the senior management …
          not safe enough for shareholders …
          not safe enough for the government

          • BM 5.1.1.1.1

            Safe enough for you?

            • Kiwiri - Raided of the Last Shark 5.1.1.1.1.1

              not safe enough for you

              • BM

                Absolutely, fuck risking my life to drag out the remains of these poor pricks.

                They’re dead, they’re underground, risking the lives of other people to get these guys remains above ground to then put them back underground strikes me as rather pointless, stupid and unbelievably risky for those that have to carry out this pointless task.

                • McFlock

                  To be fair, you don’t exactly come across as the sort of chap who’d risk your life if “those poor pricks” were still alive, either.

                  Nobody’s talking about forcing anybody to go in there. There are trained professionals who have volunteered already. All they need are the resources and the go-ahead.

                • b waghorn

                  Calling dead men pricks you really are a low life piece of shit bm I hope a miner gets his hands on you one day

                • Kiwiri - Raided of the Last Shark

                  Absolutely, fuck risking my life to drag out the remains of these poor pricks.

                  They’re dead, they’re underground, risking the lives of other people to get these guys remains above ground to then put them back underground strikes me as rather pointless, stupid and unbelievably risky for those that have to carry out this pointless task.

                  “Along the same lines, not worth doing, time to move on.” See 5.1

                • halfcrown

                  “Absolutely, fuck risking my life to drag out the remains of these poor pricks.”

                  Hey BM I will disagree with your opinions, but I do like the cut and thrust of the debate, and sometimes your wit, but hey mate, that was a stupid opinion, and I was surprise to see it from you. These poor pricks as you put it, not my words, are someones love and please respect that.

                  • BM

                    Offence was never intended.

                    Describing someone as a “poor prick” is just kiwi slang – or it was with the guys I grew up/worked with.

                    • b waghorn

                      If you weren’t a right wing shit stirrer I’d believe you but your type are just happy that the suits and tie brigade got away with it

                    • BM

                      Suit and ties?, dude I’ve never owned a suit.

                      Never went to Uni either, every thing I know is basically self taught.

                      Did have one of those ties with the elastic though, god damn foodtown.

    • RedLogixFormes 5.2

      Of course it can be ‘done’. I was talking to an experienced Australian coal mine engineer just several months ago who is very familiar with Pike River. (These ‘rock monkeys’ are a tight-knit bunch) – and he was quite adamant it could have, should have been done.

      He assessed the risk as not much greater than those normally encountered in any exploratory shaft. Like me – he’s professionally pissed off that there was never a proper forensic report on exactly what happened.

      But none of this matters to you BM. You just want us to pretend it never happened and suppressing the embarrassment to the government is all that exercises your mind. Don’t worry – we get it.

  6. mickysavage 6

    The announcement of legal proceedings is very strange. The explosion happened four years ago. Why wait so long? It smacks of the Government looking for some sort of PR announcement to try and deflect criticism.

  7. minarch 7

    If coal trebled in price they would have that back open so quickly it would make your head spin….

  8. b waghorn 8

    Any notice they dragged it out till after the election

    • Kiwiri - Raided of the Last Shark 8.1

      and today, Thursday – end of the week when Parliament has been sitting

      any more sitting days this month or this year?

      • mickysavage 8.1.1

        Parliament adjourned today for two weeks …

        • Kiwiri - Raided of the Last Shark 8.1.1.1

          JK gambling on this story going cold in the next couple of weeks and having no questions in the House to hold him to account on record.

  9. Neil 9

    It beggars belief that the governments own people said a year ago it was safe to go in & recover the bodies, the question that should be being asked now is “Why did they not do it, when told by their own advisors that it was safe to do so?”
    I bet if Keys son was one of the dead miners, he would’ve got the bodies recovered asap.

  10. Rob 10

    Having worked in coal mines when younger, and almost got severely injured once, I was always conscious of how safety with ventilation was taken.
    I cannot remember any of them that didn’t have a return airway
    It just shows what happens when safety gets compromised like this case
    However NZ seem to embrace this deregulated society.

    • Chooky 10.1

      re “However NZ seem to embrace this deregulated society”

      ….not NZers…but the Neolib NZ governments in the grip of the ideology of deregulation, govt cuts on safety inspectors and the public service , and shedding itself of responsibility and oversight for safety ….. the government ideology of laissez faire capitalism ….blindly and naively trusting in the market driven corporates to look after workers and safety

      • Manuka AOR 10.1.1

        “blindly and cynically leaving it to market driven corporates to look after workers and safety”

        fify

  11. vto 11

    Pike River epitomises everything that is wrong with the policies of the last 30 years and with John Key and his mean government.

    Pike River proved the utter folly of self-regulation (like we needed another after leaky homes). Complete and total disaster. Unmitigated disaster.. (and do people realise the heavy trucking industry wants t self-regulate now too? I know – unbelievable. 40 ton trucks self-regulated at 110kmh.)

    Pike River proved that the capitalist system is all about money and nothing about people – Pike (the original company) f#@&ed up on so many fronts. They spent the exploratory money on proving the body, instead of proving its mineability. They needed to do this to list on the sharemarket. Then they encountered difficulties in accessing the ore because they hadn’t sunk enough holes – they ran into a ridiculously tough chunk of bloody granite ffs, which they should have known about. So back to the shareholders they went for more cash. Then again after that. Then they were missing orders due to delays so resorted to offering the miners $10k (I think) each if they met dates and outputs. They clearly believe that people only respond to greed and money signals (fools like the Actoid nutfux) – so of course caution gets thrown to the wind. It was all about the money and the miners were a distant second / third.

    The original directors of Pike River got away scot free. How does that happen in these circumstances? They were and are a bunch of nasty arseholes for the way they behaved and the way they totally mismanaged the company, right from the very start. Folly, run by fools …. resulting in death.

    Then to top it off this governments leader John Key deceives and goes back on his word. No more to add to that – it is Key’s very nature. Life is all about being a winner – the method of achieving that is immaterial.

    Pike River has been a shameful event in this country’s history. It epitomises all that is wrong with the types of attitudes and policies of the right wing and this government.

    Shame

    Shame

    Shame

    • b waghorn 11.1

      Shame indeed be nice if a reporter put something like your words as a headline

    • RedLogixFormes 11.2

      What you have left out is the sequence of events immediately after 2008.

      John Key is elected to power and immediately there is a clamour for some response to the GFC at that time in full panic mode. Other than the now sad cycleway nonsense – Key’s other big plan was ‘modern surgical mining’.

      Of course Pike River was already existed – licensed as an exploratory operation – with the option to transition to a production shaft still under regulatory consideration.

      But come 2008 suddenly Pike River is being touted as the ‘modern face of mining’ to the NZ public. Brownlee being the person chosen to front this effort. And now the directors of find themselves with a bright green light from government to turn their under-engineered, under-funded and under-scoped operation into what became a death-trap. Enabled and encouraged by a government wedded to the idea that mining was going be the next big thing in the in the NZ economy.

      I forget who said it originally, but the reason why there were no prosecutions over Pike River was not for a lack of people to charge – but quite the opposite – far too much evidence pointing to far too many guilty people. The Establishment could never tolerate such a thing.

  12. Andrew Welsh 12

    Pike River was approved by, and development overseen by, the Clark Government. Perhaps the initial questions should be forwarded to those representatives as to why it was allowed to be developed in the way it was. I have no issues with John Key promising to do everything they could and it’s ridiculous to suggest anything other than the risks are just too high to re-enter in the chance of maybe recovering the dead miners. Perhaps submitters to this blog will also demand the 60 or so unrecovered bodies of climbers at Mt Cook National Park are also bought back?

    • RedLogixFormes 12.1

      See above – the story is more complex than you present.

      In essence the Labour govt had initially approved Pike River as an exploratory operation and the terms of it transitioning to actual production were still being determined when National came to power in 2008.

      Gerry Brownlee officially opened the mine in November 2008 with great enthusiasm and official encouragement. It must have been virtually one of his first acts as Minister.

      What went missing of course was any sense of govt. regulatory oversight.

      • Manuka AOR 12.1.1

        “Gerry Brownlee officially opened the mine in November 2008 with great enthusiasm and official encouragement. It must have been virtually one of his first acts as Minister. “

        Imagine for a moment that the Greens were in power and instead of Brownlee it had been a Green Minister. She or he would have lost their place in Cabinet before the month was out – the press would have seen to that.

        “What went missing of course was any sense of govt. regulatory oversight.”

        • greywarshark 12.1.1.1

          @Manuka AOR
          A repeat of your quote – “What went missing of course was any sense of govt. regulatory oversight.”

          Are you then implying that the present government is only a pretence, that our understandings of it have been misled by an illusion? That the situation at Pike River was such that it showed clearly that there was no government in NZ – just a sham, a theatrical performance, a TV ‘reality’ government?

          • Manuka AOR 12.1.1.1.1

            Greywarshark,
            It is not the sham out the front, the shimmering performance with magic tricks and sleight of hand, with those who disappear onstage, and those who appear to have their heads lopped off only to re-emerge unscathed, the clever clever words and clownlike smile, – If that unending performance was all there was, it wouldn’t be so bad.

            At the back of the stage – the rock walls behind which we, the mere audience, can never see. That’s where the real cutting and hacking and selling and trading takes place – that’s where we’re losing so much that was once ours – so much that once defined our identity, as the people of Aotearoa. (imo)

            • greywarshark 12.1.1.1.1.1

              @ Manuka AOR
              I like imaginative crime stories, usually written last century. And one involved a crime that would come into ‘the locked door’ type if you know that term.

              Something valuable was stolen from a window that was in view all the time.
              How could that happen.? A theatre-style screen was put up, scenery painted to match the actual props used in the window-dressing large enough for the thieves to move behind and remove the jewel or whatever in virtual hiding.

              I think that the NACTs are planning something big behind their dirty politics events calendar in progress. I believe they are in competition with overseas scientists on a Think Big project. In a short time they will be drawing the curtains on this – instead of revealing a WW1 monument, we will see a bigger and better
              Higgs Boson Machine

              They have formed a cunning plan to equal Rutherford’s breakthrough in the 21st century. That is what is going on behind the scenery. Won’t you be amazed and astounded when this piece of resistance is revealed!
              Then you’ll eat your workers cap!
              edited

    • vto 12.2

      Yep, as redlogix says, you are missing huge chunks of the story. You need more facts.

      People like yourself and BM who seem to suggest the entire shameful story should now just be accepted and we should move on are ignorant of what Pike River has proved about the political philosophy governing our country for the last 30 years.

      It is crucial that people know the facts and understand this.

      But the bloody well don’t. There is too much to read and take in for the normal twittering soundbite person to concentrate on for the length of time required.

    • RedLogixFormes 12.3

      I have no issues with John Key promising to do everything they could and it’s ridiculous to suggest anything other than the risks are just too high to re-enter in the chance of maybe recovering the dead miners.

      Utter fecking bollocks.

      It’s not what the govt’s own technical advise from Work Safe NZ was. It’s not what I was personally told by a senior coal mining engineer here in Australia just three months ago. It’s not what Bernie Monk, an experienced and capable man most intimately connected to the affair believed.

      It was not for a lack of people willing to go down there and look. As I understand it the mine is full of 100% methane, it’s no longer explosive. You could walk down there with a lit blowtorch. Or it could have been displaced with nitrogen. Either way the atmosphere was not the risk.

      There are of course access problems due to rock fall and explosion damage. But until someone actually went and assessed what the real situation is – all that was conjecture.

      The real problem was a government unwilling to take the political risk of anything going wrong in order to honour it’s convenient promises. And I firmly believe they also do not want any more physical evidence to emerge. Of any sort.

  13. Chooky 13

    there has been a culture of cutting the public service to the bone….it has been a matter of pride especially with National governments

    …eg Cave Creek probably would not have happened if there had not been huge DOC staff cuts on the West Coast…safety checks would have been implemented if the DOC staff left had not been so grossly overworked

    eg….NZ would probably not have the huge problem of Varroa bee mites if the government had not cut nation wide Bee Hive Inspectors …the problem could have recognised much sooner, been contained and the mites eradicated before they got out of control

    eg …in Education …’Tomorrow’s Schools’…..getting rid of nation wide School Inspectorate and Inspectors to mentor teachers and give guidance ….instead cutting costs and bringing in parents to run schools..hire and fire teachers… and fund raise… this has been a disaster for nationwide professional quality State education

    ….the list could go on and on of deregulation disasters…and cutting back on professional expert public servants

    …no one particular public servant can be blamed for these disasters …..the blame should be put on a Neolib government culture of lack of government responsibility and accountability…and cutting the Public Service

    • RedLogixFormes 13.1

      Another one you can add – the kiwifruit PSA debacle.

      That came about directly because the one person qualified inside MAF to certify pollen shipments from China was downsized and replaced with a relatively inexperienced part-timer who did not fully understand the difference between pure, process pollen normally shipped and the cheaper, contaminated version that he incorrectly allowed in.

      As a direct result it cost the industry and taxpayer hundreds of millions. Media covered this one up for them.

    • minarch 13.2

      the blame should be put on a Neolib government culture of lack of government responsibility and accountability…and cutting the Public Service

      they call it “laissez faire” i believe…

  14. Well, yes, Key’s a corporate weasel who’s done damage-control on this by telling people what they want to hear until the potential for popularity-damaging media stories has fallen to an acceptable level. That stage has been reached, which means he can now finally bring himself, four years too late, to say what should have been said at the start – risking live people for dead ones is pointless and stupid, so the mine will be sealed off and declared a tomb, with appropriate memorial in place.

    It would be nice if we had a PM that wasn’t a corporate weasel and could be relied on to do the right thing, but we don’t. That doesn’t alter the facts of the situation. Holding the people responsible for the deaths is a separate matter, and it’s no surprise that Mr Corporate Weasel doesn’t plan to do that either.

    • RedLogixFormes 14.1

      I think everyone is making a mistake in framing this as ‘recovering the bodies’. While that is of course a worthy goal, it was as you say, one that eventually Key could trump with his weaselly ‘it’s not worth risking more lives’ to achieve.

      Wrong.

      The most vital task down there was to forensically determine exactly what the root cause of the disaster was. And it is notably that at no point has Key spoken of this, at no point did be make it any kind of priority – yet the failure to achieve this task is to my engineering mind, is by far the most serious dereliction of responsibility.

      While Key could count on time to discount the largely sentimental value of retrieving the bodies, the positive engineering value of discovering the root cause of failure has never diminished.

      Without that information the Royal Commission, damning as it was, still amounted to nothing much more than a fig-leaf.

      • Psycho Milt 14.1.1

        I don’t know that pinpointing the exact cause of the explosion would be worth risking any lives for, either. We know that the mine’s owners and management were cheerfully sending people to operate electrical equipment and engage in other potentially spark-generating activities in an enclosed space that often featured explosive levels of methane. So we don’t know exactly what generated the explosion, but we do know that one was likely to happen, and who was accountable for any resulting deaths/injuries when it did happen. Holding them to account should have been straightforward, and the failure to do that is the actual failure of the government – all the wailing and gnashing of teeth about “bringing our boys home” is a distasteful sideshow.

        • RedLogixFormes 14.1.1.1

          I don’t know that pinpointing the exact cause of the explosion would be worth risking any lives for, either.

          Well I do. And until someone actually goes down for an exploratory look – the evaluation of the risks remains highly speculative. Obviously if it turned out to be insanely hazardous then you’d call it off.

          But in my opinion the balance of risk and reward remains well tilted in favour of at least attempting an entry. By entirely dismissing the importance and value of obtaining all the so far hidden safety engineering information, Key is tipping the balance the way he wants.

          Which is to shut the entire affair down and ‘move on’.

          all the wailing and gnashing of teeth about “bringing our boys home” is a distasteful sideshow.

          I can largely agree with this. It was convenient for Key to ride the way of public emotion and promise the earth – but now four years later when most people are no longer engaged with the issue (other than of course the families themselves) – it’s convenient for Key to weasel out of his promise.

          Note carefully how all the people who lauded Key for his ‘brave and compassionate’ promises four years ago – are the same ones lauding him for his ‘realism’ now.

  15. Scott1 15

    This is a function of the system and how we weigh the benefits of getting the bodies vs. the risk of loosing some rescuers.

    The system is set up to tolerate almost no risk of rescuers being killed in the mines. As per Andrew I am inclined to think that is probably the right decision from a pragmatic perspective… the idea of a rescuer dying in the mine trying to retrieve remains is quite disturbing.

    One could as per bob in theory just let some people into the mine to get the bodies out and tell them it was at their own risk – but the system doesn’t allow for that because it creates a massive moral hazard where companies could engineer ‘convenient’ but risky behaviour.

    • One Anonymous Bloke 15.1

      It’s almost as though you haven’t read a single word of this discussion. Oh, right.

      • Scott1 15.1.1

        I referred to one of the other commenters – so I must have read at least a single word. making your reply false and discrediting you as a source of honest debate.

        However admittedly when people start using words like “pricks” I do turn off a bit since they also are probably not sources of honest debate.

    • RedLogixFormes 15.2

      This is a function of the system and how we weigh the benefits of getting the bodies vs. the risk of loosing some rescuers.

      Another one who is determined not to find the proximate root cause of the disaster.

      • Scott1 15.2.1

        No I am happy to hang the people responsible for the disaster. We should have enough information for that as it is. To say you need to get into the mine to do that is to be a tool for the guilty in the same way that a government might say “lets organize a royal commission to investigate X controversial issue – report due in.. 10 years…”

        If a change is needed it would be to increase the responsibility of managers for work safety in these sorts of contexts.

    • One Anonymous Bloke 15.3

      The system is set up to tolerate almost no risk of rescuers being killed in the mines.

      Is that the “system” Worksafe New Zealand and Mine Rescue use? Or is it the one you just pulled out of your ear?

      • Scott1 15.3.1

        That isn’t a very important question unless you first agree that it should change and can describe the risk that you think should be acceptable.

  16. philj 16

    xox
    Is the Pike River disaster our canary in the mine?

  17. fisiani 17

    Trying to blame the National government for the decision of Solid Energy to abandon any attempt to retrieve bones reeks of political grandstanding of the kind that was rejected at the election. Do you not realise that the public do not blame John Key, only the John Key haters want to blame him.
    Shroud waving digital expressions of mock anger fool no one and lose you respect. You guys are better than this.

    • Even your concern trolling lacks credibility.

    • Goodsweat 17.2

      Fisiani, Solid Energy’s decision not to retrieve the bodies is a by-product of their inevitable decision to abandon any hope of reopening the mine.

      The mine’s trouble stricken ownership began with an oil and gas company…off to a bad start. Public company NZ Oil and Gas spun off and listed Pike River Coal. Whilst NZOG still owned a big chunk, the operation was floated in it’s own right.

      Problem after problem, corners were cut, safety standards were at best, poor. An Indian smelter had bought a big chunk of the company and coal, deadlines were getting broken. Everyone was screaming for money and coal.

      The mine went bang. NZOG share price halved overnight.

      The safety shortfalls and staff safety complaints started getting sunlight. Many powerful and influential people found themselves in water that was quickly getting hotter.

      Problems mounted for the government, it came to light that one man was responsible for all mine and quarry safety in NZ. A joke. Imagine how that bloke feels. Labour can’t point the finger. The dept had been run down under successive governments. Charged with an impossible task and this happens on his watch.

      This is when I think it really starts to stink.

      You and I own Solid Energy, it is a SOE. To douse the heat in the bonfire forming around the Pike River Mine owner/operators a brand new team march in. National’s mining company. They tread water for 12-18 months and then their warm female CEO says “We’ve weighed it all up and we’re not going to reopen the mine or recover the bodies.”

      Of course they’re not. I feel her speech was the final step in the Govt’s plan. The mine can’t be reopened, never could be. The coal can’t be open-cast mined. I believe Solid Energy were brought in solely to divert focus while all the rats scurried away from their mess.

      I’m against trying to recover the bodies, I think they’ll be little bits of melted belt buckle etc. It was a methane and coal driven kiln in there for days. I do feel that there a number of people about with blood dripping from their hands and they should be held to account.

      • RedLogix 17.2.1

        Thanks – good to get that perspective and hear another voice on the topic.

        And I agree the ‘get the bodies out’ became a macabre side-show, intended to distract from the most justified reason to go back in – which was to find out what actually happened.

        And everything they have done since, from the moment it went bang, has been carefully constructed to prevent such a thing.

  18. Redline on the latest (non)development. Don Franks at: http://rdln.wordpress.com/2014/11/07/pike-river-the-final-cover-up/

    We’ve also stuck up The murders at Pike River, which lists our articles on what are effectively slayings, who caused them and how they’ve gotten away with them: http://rdln.wordpress.com/2014/11/07/the-murders-at-pike-river/

    I know it must be very hard, but I hope the families keep going in pursuit of both the recovery of the bodies of their loved ones and making the guilty pay. So far, all we’ve seen from the government – and it was true of the Labour governments who helped undermine mine safety – is that working class life comes cheap.

    I’m sure there would be a core of people in towns and cities across the country that could organise public meetings for the families to speak at and get some momentum going.

    Phil

  19. coaster 19

    It is beleved there is a body up the drift.

    Maybe a portion of the 26 mill being spent to decide about our flag could have been ùsed in the recovery.

  20. Andrew Welsh 20

    The comments that this accident was a result of deregulation or lax government oversight is ridiculous unless participants to this blog are suggesting that all Governments since 2000 are culpable? Rescue operations for the deceased should carry no risk for the rescuers and likewise the search for evidence. Solid Energy took over what was a no win situation and have made the right decision.

    • RedLogix 20.1

      Ummm – try reading the Royal Commission report. Until then you will keep making ridiculous statements.

      Some major themes became evident in the course of the inquiry:

      This was a process safety accident, being an unintended escape of methane followed by an explosion in the mine. It occurred during a drive to achieve coal production in a mine with leadership, operational systems and cultural problems.
      Such problems coincided with inadequate oversight of the mine by a health and safety regulator that lacked focus, resourcing and inspection capacity.
      The legal framework for health and safety in underground mining is deficient.
      Those involved in the search and rescue were very committed, but the operation suffered from an absence of advance planning for a coal mine emergency and from a failure to properly implement the principles of the New Zealand co-ordinated incident management system (CIMS).
      The families of the 29 men received generous community support, but would have benefited from better communications during the search, rescue and recovery phases.

      DOL’s compliance strategy did not require an assessment of Pike’s safety and operational information. The inspectors did not have a system, training or time to do so. When, at the hearings, they were shown examples of safety information obtained by the commission from Pike’s records, the inspectors were visibly dismayed. This was not a case of individual fault, but of departmental failure to resource, manage and adequately support a diminished mining inspectorate.

      Major change required and fast

      The Pike River tragedy was preventable but administrative and regulatory reforms are urgently needed to reduce the likelihood of further tragedies.

      The Pike River tragedy contains lessons for government, regulators, employers and workers, especially in high-hazard industries such as coal mining, where the frequency of major accidents is low, but accidents can have catastrophic results.

      http://pikeriver.royalcommission.govt.nz/Final-Report

      I could go on ….

      • One Anonymous Bloke 20.1.1

        You could go on, and Andrew Welsh is handicapped by dogma, hubris and shite morals, which render him a clear and present threat to his peers.

  21. Andrew Welsh 21

    OAB, interesting comments from someone who has to hide behind a psuedonum and [deleted]

    [lprent: I am more interested in a lazy arsehole like yourself who hasn’t read our policy on pseudonyms like yours. All names are pseudonyms – they say nothing about who you are. Your opinions do that.

    All that real names provide in online environment is an opportunity for gutless arseholes like yourself and Cameron Slater to attack people in real life for expressing their opinion. That is why supporting pseudonyms is part of this sites policy and vindictive arseholes like yourself get booted off for attacking them.

    Banned for 2 weeks to give you time to read the about and policy. ]

  22. philj 22

    This Pike River tradegy reminds me of the government obsfucation following the BNZ debacle decades ago. Is there a record, or book etc which would tell the real story of what happened leading to the BNZ sell off/ give away? Any links or references are appreciated. Ta.

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