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Only there for the photo-ops

Written By: - Date published: 11:19 am, November 5th, 2012 - 33 comments
Categories: disaster, john key, Minister for Photo-ops, workers' rights - Tags: ,

John Key won’t be on the West Coast today when the Pike River report will be released. He’ll have a tightly managed press conference at the Beehive, instead. Key promised that he would stand  by the Pike River families. He promised that all efforts would be put in to get the bodies out, no matter the cost. It was all hollow talk from a hollow man. And I expect his response to the report will be hollow too.

The families are calling for a charge of corporate manslaughter to be created. When businesses and bosses kill their employees or others, they ought to face real punishment. Now, they hide behind corporate cover. Peter Whittall (the man who the press lauded as a hero immediately after the disaster) has some minor charges against him. The people who owned and ran Pike River have paid no cost for the deaths of their employees (they’ve lost money because the mine is useless – but that’s different). Key, naturally, hasn’t bothered to get advice. So, we can see what chance there is that the bosses’ party will make bosses more accountable.

33 comments on “Only there for the photo-ops ”

  1. Fustercluck 1

    I recall the lapdog press applauding Whittall as he laid the early smokescreen for his masters. One of the most disgusting displays of journalistic incompetence I have ever observed. Remember the Australian reporter pilloried for daring to question the appointment of a “country cop” to run a technical underground mine rescue?

    • Colonial Viper 1.1

      Our media was pathetic and weak. The locals of the Coast were poorly served by what passed itself off as journalism.

  2. vto 2

    The owners and directors of this company were negligent in the performance of their olbligations to such an extent that 29 men were killed dead.

    This negligence manifested itself through incomplete drilling on the access tunnel, while all the money went on drilling holes onb the actual ore body (this is better for share price of course), which was evidenced by the need to go back to the public for more funds when the access tunnel ran into granite.

    This negligence manifested itself in the ownership structure being a one-off menagerie of investors with no common goal other than to make a bundle out of the coal. This company had no history and no culture and no future. This resulted in the flawed management on site who the directors continually turned a blind eye to.

    This negligence manifested itself in offering bonuses if the miners could get out a certain amount of coal by a certain date. Bugger safety and other standards.

    This negligence mainfested itself in the company never having enough money to do the job properly. How many times did it have to go back to the public for funds? Way too many.

    All of the above was public knowledge before and immdiately after the killings, as was pointed out at the time. The media’s fawning over Whittall was pathetic and wrong.

    In the same way failings in the rescues following the Chch earthquake were highlighted shortly after the event, these failings were evident but simply ignored or not questioned.

    I am going to say, for both events, told you so ….

    • Bill 2.1

      This negligence manifested itself through incomplete drilling on the access tunnel…

      Seeing as how it was illegal from as far back as 1813(?) in the UK to work a mine that had only one access/exit point, I find it incredible that NZ, a country colonised by the UK and that adopted the widespread use of UK legislation, allowed for such a thing in the 21st C.

      • vto 2.1.1

        What I was referring to there Bill was the following …. when you find and prove a mine there need to be plenty of drill holes sunk onto the actual ore body so that there is certainty around how much ore there is. The same thing needs to be done to gain certainty around how easily the ore body can be mined – as such, especially in this case with a 2.4km long access tunnel, there need to be plenty of drill holes sunk into the access route so that you know what you have to go through to get to the ore body.

        This second lot of drill holes to establish the route was not done anywhere near to the extent it needed to be done. And because of this lack of drill holes the company ran into an unknown area of granite when it started putting in the access tunnel. This cost much more to go through and so the company ran out of money.

        If the company had done the correct work previously then it would have known about this area of granite. This debacle is indicative of how this company operated – from day one to its final.

        The ownership and directorship was deadly negligent.

        • Bill

          I misunderstood your point then. But my question is still legitimate and is simply – why was the mine allowed to become operational when it only had a single entry/exit point? It’s fucking insane and has been known to be fucking insane for generations.

          • vto

            The answer to that is found in ‘self-regulation’, the most bizarre pairing of words ever…..

            But get how crazy this thinking gets and how far it goes…… now the same ideologues want the heavy trucking industry to self-regulate as well.

            you gotta ask yourself

          • Draco T Bastard

            I believe it had a second access point – it just wasn’t operational.

            • Colonial Viper

              Like the chained up fire exit out of a cinema which burned down.

            • McFlock

              wasn’t the secondary escape route a 50 or 100m ladder in a vent shaft? Something stupid like that managed to tick off the “safe” box.

              • vto

                yes that’s it mcflock. And nobody had tested it by climbing it – apparently everybody used to get too knackered because it was too high etc.

                Amazing I know – but these items paint the picture of the people and the organisation/s running the show. And that picture is ugly and deadly.

      • Bill 2.1.2

        Correction. It was the aftermath of the Hartley Mine disaster that entombed 199 men and boys that led to the 1862 Act of Parliament whereby it was “compulsory for all new mines to have two shafts, while all existing mines must have another shaft sunk before 1st January 1865.”


        Meanwhile, over 150 years later in NZ….

  3. vto 3

    If corporate manslaughter comes into existence as it is in many other places…….

    …… then so too should political manslaughter.

    Politicians dismantled the mine safety regime, which led directly to death. Clear cut.

    • Draco T Bastard 3.1


      We really do need to hold politicians to account for passing legislation that results in predictable deaths.

      • vto 3.1.1

        If the crime of political manslaughter was in existence today it would be interesting to see how far the No More Warrants of Fitness for your Car Bill would get through Parliament …………

  4. fustercluck 4

    Further to my comments regarding journalists, we should also create the crime of journalistic accessory to manslaughter/murder. Failure by the MSM to properly hold these corporate/government criminals to account is a shameful chapter in the rather tatty history of NZ journalism.

  5. Fisiani 5

    Yet another partsan post simply to try to unfairly throw muck at John Key, the most popular Prime Minister ever.Pathetic
    Key has kept his word. No one has ever presented him with a plan to safely get the bodies out.
    When there is such a plan and he ignores it feel free to throw as much muck as you can.

    • ropata 5.1

      Key has not kept his word.
      People who hero worship politicians are pathetic.
      (GW Bush was also very popular for a couple of years post 911. )

      There is no plan to get the miners out because there is no political will and no more money to be made.

      • Fisiani 5.1.1

        Solid Energy bought the mine because once it is rendered safe enough to extract the bodies it is safe enough to mine the thousands of tons of coal and there is a lot of money to be made even with the current low price of coal. Key has only broken his word once. He promised tax cuts in I think 2010 but due to the GFC he had to defer them.
        Some posters here would love nothing more than for JK to ignore the technical advice and send a team of body recovery volunteers down the mine. Then the methane laden mine explodes and more are dead. “Killed by JK’s political expediency” would be the headline. Utterly pathetic.

        • crashcart

          Just the once. I seem to remember the nice honest Mr Key promising not to put up GST. I guess that wasn’t him breaking his word in your totally balance unbiased view of that lovely man Mr John Key.

          Of course his promise to hold MP’s to a higher standard of ethics when he became PM wasn’t broken with his recent treatment of both John Banks and Paula Bennet either.

          Those two are just off the top of my head so feel fre eto stick to your line of one broken promise.

          • Fisiani

            Yey Just the one broken promise and he fessed up to it. No matter how often you claim the discredited GST canard it never stacks up as broken promise/
            Key has applied a higher standard then Helen Clark ever did to Philip Field.

            • felix

              Err, lolwut?

              “National is not going to be raising GST” isn’t a promise to not raise GST?

    • mike e 5.2

      Remember what Gerry Brownoselee said as media and family criticised Pike River coal for taking short cuts with safety.
      brownoselee said a company that spent $300 million on a mine wouldn’t take short cuts !
      Yeah right!

  6. JonL 6

    Fisiani……Fuckwit……both start with the letter F…..coincidence?…..I think not!

    [lprent: Fis has this correct – read the policy. That was pointless abuse. Don’t repeat unless you want a holiday from the site.. ]

  7. Pascal's bookie 7

    Kate Wilkinson; resigned.

  8. Pete 9

    The reduction in FTEs at the Department of Labour over 4 years is quite marked

    31/12/2008 – 2044
    30/06/2011 – 1950
    31/12/2011 – 1929
    30/06/2012 – 1833

    Source: http://www.ssc.govt.nz/sites/all/files/capping-dec11.pdf ; http://www.ssc.govt.nz/sites/all/files/capping-june12.pdf

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