The dearth of solid information on the Pike River situation and the contradictory statements from the government have naturally led to suspicion that we’re not being told the whole story. The government has been caught flat-footed by the blowback. Now, finally, the Police are going to release their technical information, allowing independent assessments.
The Daily News (not online, thanks PB) editorial sums up the situation:
“The Government told me it was not a money issue. . . everyone is telling us different stories and I want to get to the bottom of it,” Mr Monk said.
Opposition leader Phil Goff says John Key has passed the buck, and he in turn has been accused of making a statement which is “a bit sad and a bit cynical under the circumstances” by Mining Minister Gerry Brownlee. But Mr Goff is quite right to underline the level of dissatisfaction which is now evident.
The police effectively elected to call off the search, just as they have done many times when looking for missing people.
But the ball should not be left in the receivers’ hands. Given the Government’s considerable presence immediately after the tragedy, it would seem prudent for it to also take some responsibility for leading the way in decision making now.
I’ve never understood why the fate of the recover operation was suddenly dropped in the hands of the receivers, who are just accountants after all, and why they were given just two working days to formulate a plan. But it’s not just in the last week that the government has been unwilling to front up with the truth – it goes right back to the start when we were led to have hope, contrary to the evidence, that the miners were alive after the first explosion and then, on the basis of what we don’t know, that they were definitely dead after the second one.
The Herald too, has joined the call for solid facts, not PR aimed at our emotions and decisions delivered from on-high:
“Two months on, we have yet to receive any information that might help all concerned come to terms with what has happened and what realistically can be expected.
One of the first things the Government should do when it gets back into gear for the year is to start getting some useful information on Pike River into the public domain.
The whole country deserves to be learning by now a lot more about this mine and its operations. Some people know all about it and must have a very good idea what probably happened to cause the disaster. It is time we started hearing the hard facts.
When you deny people information, you disempower them. And that’s exactly what the government did with its out-of-the-blue decision to break John Key’s promise to do ‘whatever it takes’ to get the bodies out. No clear explanation or background information was given. Indeed, Key and Brownlee tried to avoid talking to the media at all.
Now, the police have finally worked it out and are going to release their technical information. Whether it will satisfy the experts and the families that abandoning the recovery is necessary for technical reasons and not simply to save costs or not, at least they will be given the information and power to form and debate that view themselves.
PS. Red Alert has more on the confusion generated by Key and Brownlee here