web analytics

Six years on, the government still lies about Pike River

Written By: - Date published: 12:00 pm, November 19th, 2016 - 11 comments
Categories: accountability, disaster, health and safety, john key - Tags: , , , ,

Today is the sixth anniversary of the Pike River mine disaster, where 29 men died.

For six years the families of those men have not had clear answers about what happened. From the Pike River Royal Commission, they got some answers.

From the government, they’ve had nothing but lies.

It was a lie when John Key said:

The first thing is I’m here to give you absolute reassurance, we’re committed to getting the boys out, and nothing’s going to change that. So – when people try and tell you we’re not, they’re playing, I hate to say it, but they’re playing with your emotions.

It was a lie when Kate Wilkinson got used as the government scapegoat for the disaster, and Key called it “the honourable thing to do.” He even lied about the fact the Royal Commission said Pike River Coal had prioritised profits over safety – a day after acknowledging that’s exactly what it said.

It was a lie when Simon Bridges said the government was “committed to improving health and safety at work” and gave us a law which exempted dairy farms (but not worm farms!) from having health and safety representatives, and quarrying, one of our most dangerous industries.

It was a lie when John Key promised to support the Pike River families in any civil suit that could get them justice. They’re still fighting back against the dodgy blood money deal which saw charges against Peter Whittall dropped.

Then Key made up a ridiculous reason for the Government not to pay the compensation the families had been awarded in court – saying the deaths of their loved ones would “set a precedent” for people who got made redundant.

In the past week, the government has lied again and again about expert advice showing the mine is safe to enter.

Even a day before the anniversary, Nick Smith continued to lie about the situation in the mine, even threatening Anna Osborne and Sonya Rockhouse with arrest if they dare to get in the way of the concrete trucks which are going to seal up the mine forever.

Like Sonya says:

“They lied to us, they’ve told so many untruths, they’ve kept things from us … this is a travesty of justice.”

The Pike River families deserve better. Solidarity and aroha to them today.

11 comments on “Six years on, the government still lies about Pike River ”

  1. Incognito 1

    The first thing is I’m here to give you absolute reassurance, we’re committed to getting the boys out, and nothing’s going to change that. So – when people try and tell you we’re not, they’re playing, I hate to say it, but they’re playing with your emotions.

    Apparently, we are living in an era of post-truth politics and John Key delivered another Master Class.

    I do not want to detract from the Pike River Anniversary but it is important to realise and accept that this Government’s way of handling the truth is not confined to disasters and the likes but applies to all (!) its actions and communications.

  2. mosa 2

    Talk about lack of empathy for his fellow countrymen.

    He is a great actor , i will give him that.

    Key is everything good people despise and is the narcissistic , cruel and self serving bastard we all hate.

    He is held up the most popular PM in modern history and yet is the most totally flawed.

    How can a man who behaves this way be held in such high esteem ?
    And people run up to get a “selfie” with this abhorrent excuse for a human being.

    Life to him and his colleagues is expendable when it comes to uncovering the truth when it comes to their role and corporate responsibility in this disaster.

    Their actions and lack of will haunt the families involved here and leave a permanent black stain on this governments tenure in office and a lack of accountability on behalf of the fourth estate for not highlighting this.

    Shame Shame Shame on them.

  3. Leftie 3

    What happened to John Key’s…

    “Whatever it takes”

    • dukeofurl 3.1

      Compare his weasel words to the Pike River families to his promises to clean up the foreign trusts, where the lawyers watered down the new rules to protect their position and foreign customers.

      I see hes making grand promises to the people of Kaikoura about restoring their transport links too

  4. mosa 4

    Leftie when Key used that phrase it was not aimed at the families.

    It was ” Key-speak” for delaying and covering all options to make sure the government or the company are not held accountable or negligent for the loss of life here.

  5. Taken from another post entitled :

    ‘ Pike River anniversary: what have we become? ‘
    …………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………..
    { ” Doug White and Peter Whittall, the men responsible for this worksite that just killed nearly its entire workforce, were effectively given control of the rescue. They insisted none be attempted, then after all reasonable hope was gone insisted the mine not be sealed, causing an inevitable series of massive explosions and fires.

    Peter Whittall was allowed to opt out of testifying to the Royal Commission because he might incriminate himself.

    When he was finally charged with 29 counts of manslaughter, Worksafe did a secret deal with his insurance company the night before Court, allowing him to buy his way out of these severe criminal charges for $100k per head. He was immediately allowed to leave the country a free man. ” }

    And from the same article :

    { ” The world’s foremost expert on mine ventilation says the drift can be safely re-entered and searched. New Zealand’s former Chief Mines Inspector says it can be done and he’d be “honoured” to lead the mission. John Key says “his advice” says it’s too dangerous to be considered.” }
    ………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………….
    I posted this on a recent article entitled :

    ‘ Pike River Mine can be safely re-entered – but the Government says no.’

    Key said they would enter. Now he backpeddles on spurious so -called advice.

    I call bullshit.

    1) Victims of carbon monoxide/methane poisoning cannot be ascertained unless there is flesh samples. It would behoove any participants in this skulduggery to have those bodies in that mine for as long as possible – preferably forever- lest an autopsy declares the men were still alive and there was a chance to rescue them.

    2) The state of that air / methane extractor main vent that continually broke down and was frequently not even in use.

    3) Unacceptably high methane levels that would have shut that mine down had adequate mines inspection been allowed to take place. Methane levels that were frequently mentioned of by the workers themselves and known of by the Management.

    4) Only one access road in – or out. Which contravenes basic safety from the get go. And was commented incredulously on as such by the Australian mining officials .

    5) This and other previous neo liberal governments deliberate destruction of unions and thus the absolute lack of , – and impossible workload of available mines inspectors – to which on last count there was around only 4 for a nation the size of New Zealand at that time. If union / independent mines inspectors had still been in sufficient numbers today as they were 35 years ago that mine would have been shut down so fast it until those deficiencies were rectified it would have made its foreign investors heads spin.

    6) Investor /Corporate culpability and possible negative litigation against them. If that mine was to be entered and it indeed it was found that both negligence by management in creating the conditions for that deadly event , – and that those men actually were alive after the initial blast and that they could have been rescued – that would be a major setback if these corporate’s were then able to have proceedings brought against them , ( the TTPA ‘s Investor – State Dispute Settlement was designed for just these circumstances ) and also set a precedent in this country that would be adverse to this govts emphasis on foreign investors , – foreign investment in dangerous industry’s that more often than not have had /still have the bare minimum of Health and Safety regulations to protect NZ workers and often scant regard for our environment as well.

    (Slightly edited since first post.)

    The fact is we are witnessing skulduggery right before our very eyes. And it doesn’t matter which party was in govt at the various times, there is culpability there as well as mines management.

    The two latest entities involved, one being Solid Energy , are both govt owned. They are not private concerns. As such , this Prime Minister has /is abdicating his duties as a Prime Minister to direct recovery operations.

    He is the same Prime Minister that is now presiding over yet another disaster, this time beyond the reaches of human intervention. But that most certainly was not the case with the Pike River disaster whereby adequate forensic examination and / or evidence has been denied and deliberately stonewalled to protect various govt, corporate and individual interests.

  6. G. Taylor 6

    The workers do also have a responsibility. At Pike River, miners union (EPMU and forerunner) failed in representing workers industrial health and safety interests – with pay and benefits the most basic of workers welfare interests (which of course includes monitoring performance by Dept. Labour of mining safety responsibilities), Basically, this is partly the fault of trade union membership (such as it was) who permitted a takeover of their union (and trade unions generally) by people from the urban educated liberal elite who saw themselves as being more part of the “Labour Movement” than as trade union activists. This description seems to fit Andrew Little, miners union/EPMU General Secretary for 11 years – until he resigned to pursue the next stages of his labour movement political career – and perhaps also fits predecessor, Rex Jones, during which 11 years the rot set into mining safety – following the destruction of regulation by previous National Governments (left unremedied by the following Labour Government). Both Jones and Little apparently found time to be President of the Labour Party at the same time as being General Secretary of the Union. Mr Little apparently was not likely to robustly challenge the industrial safety policy failures of Labour Government Ministers of Labour and dereliction of duty by Dept. Labour chiefs.

    [The Pike River Royal Commission found that Pike River Coal deliberately tried to force the union out at the mine, up to and including threatening to sue an EPMU organiser who told the miners to walk off the job when no evacuation vehicle was available.

    Trying to derail this post into blaming the men who died at Pike River, or making it about mythical things Andrew Little did, is a horrible thing to do. Don’t do it again. Only warning. – Stephanie]

  7. Excerpt from the New Zealand Listener : Nov 17th 2012

    ” Angry cries for action had come from miners who recognised glaring holes in Pike’s safety management. On October 21, Dene Murphy filed a report demanding: “Get the dam [sic] ventilation sorted out so we can cut coal. This ventilation issue has dragged on for two and a half bloody years!!!” A few months earlier, Murphy had written a report demanding the appointment of a manager to take responsibility for the mine’s ventilation – something required by Pike’s own corporate documents, but never followed through – and threatening to complain to the mines inspectorate if nothing was done.

    Experienced miner Brian Wishart wrote an email to his superior in April 2010 warning that the system to drain methane away from the coalface was inadequate. The Upper Big Branch Mine in West Virginia had recently exploded, killing 29 men. “History has shown us in the mining industry that methane when given the [right] environment will show us no mercy,” he wrote. “It is my opinion that it is time we took our methane drainage here at [Pike] more seriously and redesigned our entire system.” Stopgap measures were put in place, but the fundamental problem raised by Wishart was unsolved by November 19.”

    Link to the article :

    http://www.listener.co.nz/commentary/pike-river-mine…/what-really-happened-at-pike-river.

  8. Jeff 8

    Key has lied, and disrespected our loved ones.
    If there’s an afterlife, he will pay there.
    This cover-up is despicable.

Recent Comments

Recent Posts

  • Celebrating the Entry Into Force of the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons
    [Opening comments, welcome and thank you to Auckland University etc] It is a great pleasure to be here this afternoon to celebrate such an historic occasion - the entry into force of the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons. This is a moment many feared would never come, but ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 hours ago
  • Supporting disabled people to stay connected
    The Government is providing $3 million in one-off seed funding to help disabled people around New Zealand stay connected and access support in their communities, Minister for Disability Issues, Carmel Sepuloni announced today. The funding will allow disability service providers to develop digital and community-based solutions over the next two ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    6 hours ago
  • Voluntary saliva testing offered to quarantine workers from Monday
    Border workers in quarantine facilities will be offered voluntary daily COVID-19 saliva tests in addition to their regular weekly testing, COVID-19 Response Minister Chris Hipkins said today. This additional option will be rolled out at the Jet Park Quarantine facility in Auckland starting on Monday 25 January, and then to ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    8 hours ago
  • Next steps in firearms buy-back
    The next steps in the Government’s ambitious firearms reform programme to include a three-month buy-back have been announced by Police Minister Poto Williams today.  “The last buy-back and amnesty was unprecedented for New Zealand and was successful in collecting 60,297 firearms, modifying a further 5,630 firearms, and collecting 299,837 prohibited ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    9 hours ago
  • New Public Housing Plan announced
    The Government has released its Public Housing Plan 2021-2024 which outlines the intention of where 8,000 additional public and transitional housing places announced in Budget 2020, will go. “The Government is committed to continuing its public house build programme at pace and scale. The extra 8,000 homes – 6000 public ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 day ago
  • Prime Minister congratulates President Joe Biden on his inauguration
    Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern has congratulated President Joe Biden on his inauguration as the 46th President of the United States of America. “I look forward to building a close relationship with President Biden and working with him on issues that matter to both our countries,” Jacinda Ardern said. “New Zealand ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 days ago
  • Jobs for Nature funding will create training and employment opportunities
    A major investment to tackle wilding pines in Mt Richmond will create jobs and help protect the area’s unique ecosystems, Biosecurity Minister Damien O’Connor says. The Mt Richmond Forest Park has unique ecosystems developed on mineral-rich geology, including taonga plant species found nowhere else in the country. “These special plant ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    3 days ago
  • Pre-departure testing extended to all passengers to New Zealand
    To further protect New Zealand from COVID-19, the Government is extending pre-departure testing to all passengers to New Zealand except from Australia, Antarctica and most Pacific Islands, COVID-19 Response Minister Chris Hipkins said today. “The change will come into force for all flights arriving in New Zealand after 11:59pm (NZT) on Monday ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    3 days ago
  • Bay Cadets learn skills to protect environment
    Bay Conservation Cadets launched with first intake Supported with $3.5 million grant Part of $1.245b Jobs for Nature programme to accelerate recover from Covid Cadets will learn skills to protect and enhance environment Environment Minister David Parker today welcomed the first intake of cadets at the launch of the Bay ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    4 days ago
  • Cook Islanders to resume travel to New Zealand
    The Prime Minister of New Zealand Jacinda Ardern and the Prime Minister of the Cook Islands Mark Brown have announced passengers from the Cook Islands can resume quarantine-free travel into New Zealand from 21 January, enabling access to essential services such as health. “Following confirmation of the Cook Islands’ COVID ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • Supporting communities and landowners to grow employment opportunities
    Jobs for Nature funding is being made available to conservation groups and landowners to employ staff and contractors in a move aimed at boosting local biodiversity-focused projects, Conservation Minister Kiritapu Allan has announced. It is estimated some 400-plus jobs will be created with employment opportunities in ecology, restoration, trapping, ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • Border exception for some returning international tertiary students
    The Government has approved an exception class for 1000 international tertiary students, degree level and above, who began their study in New Zealand but were caught offshore when border restrictions began. The exception will allow students to return to New Zealand in stages from April 2021. “Our top priority continues ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • Tiwai deal gives time for managed transition
    Today’s deal between Meridian and Rio Tinto for the Tiwai smelter to remain open another four years provides time for a managed transition for Southland. “The deal provides welcome certainty to the Southland community by protecting jobs and incomes as the region plans for the future. The Government is committed ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • New member for APEC Business Advisory Council
    Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern has appointed Anna Curzon to the APEC Business Advisory Council (ABAC). The leader of each APEC economy appoints three private sector representatives to ABAC. ABAC provides advice to leaders annually on business priorities. “ABAC helps ensure that APEC’s work programme is informed by business community perspectives ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • Govt’s careful economic management recognised
    The Government’s prudent fiscal management and strong policy programme in the face of the COVID-19 global pandemic have been acknowledged by the credit rating agency Fitch. Fitch has today affirmed New Zealand’s local currency rating at AA+ with a stable outlook and foreign currency rating at AA with a positive ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • Additional actions to keep COVID-19 out of NZ
    The Government is putting in place a suite of additional actions to protect New Zealand from COVID-19, including new emerging variants, COVID-19 Response Minister Chris Hipkins said today. “Given the high rates of infection in many countries and evidence of the global spread of more transmissible variants, it’s clear that ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • 19 projects will clean up and protect waterways
    $36 million of Government funding alongside councils and others for 19 projects Investment will clean up and protect waterways and create local jobs Boots on the ground expected in Q2 of 2021 Funding part of the Jobs for Nature policy package A package of 19 projects will help clean up ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 weeks ago
  • New Zealand Government acknowledges 175th anniversary of Battle of Ruapekapeka
    The commemoration of the 175th anniversary of the Battle of Ruapekapeka represents an opportunity for all New Zealanders to reflect on the role these conflicts have had in creating our modern nation, says Associate Minister for Arts, Culture and Heritage Kiri Allan. “The Battle at Te Ruapekapeka Pā, which took ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 weeks ago
  • Better care for babies with tongue-tie
    Babies born with tongue-tie will be assessed and treated consistently under new guidelines released by the Ministry of Health, Associate Minister of Health Dr Ayesha Verrall announced today. Around 5% to 10% of babies are born with a tongue-tie, or ankyloglossia, in New Zealand each year. At least half can ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    3 weeks ago
  • Prisoner disorder event at Waikeria Prison over
    The prisoner disorder event at Waikeria Prison is over, with all remaining prisoners now safely and securely detained, Corrections Minister Kelvin Davis says. The majority of those involved in the event are members of the Mongols and Comancheros. Five of the men are deportees from Australia, with three subject to ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    3 weeks ago
  • Pre-departure COVID-19 test for travellers from the UK and the US from 15 January
    Travellers from the United Kingdom or the United States bound for New Zealand will be required to get a negative test result for COVID-19 before departing, and work is underway to extend the requirement to other long haul flights to New Zealand, COVID-19 Response Minister Chris Hipkins confirmed today. “The new PCR test requirement, foreshadowed last ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    3 weeks ago