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StandWithPike – it’s always “later”

Written By: - Date published: 7:25 pm, December 12th, 2016 - 76 comments
Categories: Abuse of power, accountability - Tags:

Bill English tells the families he’ll meet them “later”. They’ve waited for justice for six years. It’s always “later”.

76 comments on “StandWithPike – it’s always “later””

  1. james 1

    In fairness – its not the top priority he is facing as PM of the country at the moment.

    I feel for the families – but ‘later’ is indeed the right time.

    • Kiwiri 1.1

      nah, not top priority, of course, james. he should torture the families a bit more by leaving it for the right time that will be “later”, aye?

      • James 1.1.1

        I’m guessing prioritisation isn’t your strong suit.

        • Once was and others etc 1.1.1.1

          I’m guessing time management isn’t yours.

        • Cinny 1.1.1.2

          Compassion is a priority for some James, but sometimes compassion is too hard, so an easy answer is to say one does not have time, it takes strength to show compassion, following a time table is easy in comparison. Just an observation.

          • james 1.1.1.2.1

            Yeah – hes just the PM – he probably had nothing booked in his second day on the job anyway.

            • Cinny 1.1.1.2.1.1

              Seems like he is able to make time for media, just not for the Pike Families, not today, not even 10 minutes.

              Speaks volumes really.

              I wonder what his itinerary has been, wouldn’t that be interesting?

        • michelle 1.1.1.3

          James the gnats don’t prioritise we saw this with the flag joke the 20$ million dollars wasted now was the flag a priority James yeah nah

          • Sam C 1.1.1.3.1

            The good old flag chestnut rears its head again. Is that really all you’ve got Michelle?

            • mauī 1.1.1.3.1.1

              Whatever you do, never mention the flag in a convo with a rwinger 😆

            • michelle 1.1.1.3.1.2

              We are talking about priorities this was one of the reasons many NZers voted against keys new flags Sam they said we have other more important issues and priorities did you not read all the feedback about this many were furious that so much money could be wasted when many are going without. Call it what you like Sam it was very bad and ill informed policy and who didn’t listen to the people now your mate has gone he is tired and doesn’t like people disliking him. Does he really think he can run away from the mess he has left here yeah nah

  2. Solid Energy … your all bullshit. There is not a better way to describe you.

    Worksafe NZ that did a deal with Peter Whittalls insurance company that enabled him to avoid charges, – and then went on during the Royal Commission’s inquiry to form in Australia a company called Whittall and Associates consultancy – advising among other things on ,… ‘mine safety ‘ .

    Key the Prime Minister who said today he just ‘ likes to be liked ‘ , – and similarly to Pontius Pilate , – washed his hands of responsibility of Pike River and handed over decisions to a govt dept.

    The extraordinary bloody mindedness and heavy handed tactics used by Solid Energy , combined with the behind the scenes pushing of Worksafe NZ to set a deadline for the final sealing up of that mine… both of which are government depts… begs the question… just what use is the highest office in the land if it leaves it up to govt depts to make the final executive decisions, – decisions that are arbitrary and exclude reports and expertise that does not favor their agendas – it is hard not to come to the conclusion that there has been much communication and collusion among all these players.

    This has all changed with recent events at Pike River. Effectively these rogue depts have been neutered from any more arbitrary heavy handedness. And it will not do Bill English’s new govt any favors in continuing the policy’s of his predecessor – that of delegating responsibility to a govt dept without sufficient scrutiny of experts reports that contradict that govt dept’s findings.

    Thus, for English’s sake… it would be well for that ‘later’ to be far , far sooner.

    • Chris 2.1

      Looking into my crystal ball, I predict that English will use this as an opportunity to make his mark. The public is behind the families and he’ll see it as easy pickin’s to show something that’ll kickstart his popularity drive. Heaven knows he needs it. It isn’t too foreign a notion from his flavour of Christian outlook, either. And the latest revelations will make it politically expedient that he relents. A nice, compassionate way to show how he’s different to Key, but ever so slightly, because underneath everything he’s still a right-winger, of course.

      • Jenny Kirk 2.1.1

        Well – you’re hopeful, Chris. We’ll just wait and see !

      • One Anonymous Bloke 2.1.2

        If English can demonstrate that he’s never argued for deregulation of workplace health and safety, nor voted for any such proposal, dreams are free.

        He’s donkey deep in it and the Left must not let him and his cronies off the hook.

        • Sam C 2.1.2.1

          So, even if he listens to the families, gets independent advice which says it is ok to re-enter the mine and approves entry to the mine, he is still a scumbag in your book?

          If that’s the mentality of you and your ilk, why should he bother?

          • One Anonymous Bloke 2.1.2.1.1

            No, Sam: this is a serious issue that goes well beyond Pike River. Make no mistake: those who call for deregulation have blood on their hands.

            The mentality of you and your “ilk” is to hand over the government’s role to people with the mentality of Mr. Peter Talley, then deny any personal responsibility for the inevitable, predictable outcome.

            Oh, and English should do the right thing by the families no matter what people say about him on blogs. How obscene that you think something I say could give him an excuse not to.

            • Sam C 2.1.2.1.1.1

              Wayne sums up the situation perfectly at point 5, in my view.

              You’re becoming increasingly hysterical, OAB. I hope you’re taking some time off over Christmas – you’ll burst a blood vessel otherwise.

              • One Anonymous Bloke

                Yes, it suits you to swallow Wayne’s narrative like a good authoritarian follower, whilst paying no attention to the substantive rebuttal at 5.1.1.1

                That’s because you tell yourself a lot of lies, Sam.

                • Sam C

                  I’d hate to be you, OAB. You’re so miserable.

                  You know nothing about me mate, but if it makes you feel even slightly better to run me into the ground, I’m ok with that.

                  • One Anonymous Bloke

                    You’re funny: your first sentence is a classic example of the behaviour you ascribe to me in your second sentence.

                    And you don’t even notice yourself doing it. Like I said, you tell yourself too many lies: thanks for providing an example so promptly. Have a chocolate fish.

      • michelle 2.1.3

        He can change his mind (Blingish) he did with gay marriage only problem it took 14 years

  3. Neil 3

    I reckon the major reason they don’t want to go into the mine to bring the boys out is that they are trying to hide & cover up the real reason for the explosion, that if it was ever to be made public there would be some very worried people at solid energy & the government.

    • Kiwiri 3.1

      Bill should wait much much later, well beyond the statute of limitations for the whole range of possible legal actions, just to save the culpable ones from ending up in a court of justice?? /sarc

    • Yeah. I haven’t seen any reporting on why the methane detection system failed. There’s a pattern here. Erebus, Cave Creek, any national disaster that kills a bunch of kiwis, seems to result in a systemic attempt to avoid accountability – which extends further into an organised effort to ensure that what happened to cause all those deaths is never explained. Not to the public, not to the families of victims.

      Funny how they all seem to happen when National is government, eh?

    • Sam C 3.3

      Why on earth would Solid Energy be worried? The explosion had absolutely nothing to do with them. There really are some misinformed idiots commenting here.

      • michelle 3.3.1

        Sam C I think you are getting carried away I think you need to listen to you own advice and take some time of now ! you are losing it you don’t have to be so nasty now Mr Devisive (key) has sprayed and walked away but now we still have a nasty vile lot sitting in power

        • Sam C 3.3.1.1

          You don’t address my point though Michelle. Why should Solid Energy be worried?

          • One Anonymous Bloke 3.3.1.1.1

            For example, if the government decides to go with independent advice and allows cautious and managed entry into the drift they’ll look bad and if their expert reports turn out to be pre-determined they’ll look bad and if they change their minds and allow access they’ll look weak, which is bad, and someone might have to resign.

            Oh, and because they have empathy for the families. That might worry them too.

            • Sam C 3.3.1.1.1.1

              Your points aren’t relevant to Neil’s comment at 3, which is what I was querying.

              Addressing your point though, I simply don’t agree that they will look bad or weak if they change their minds. Their original decision was predicated around the best advice they had at the time. If that advice changes through newer advice, then they are entitled to change their minds without repercussions. It happens all the time.

          • michelle 3.3.1.1.2

            Solid Energy is owned by us/crown its the crown that are worried why seal when we don’t have to and why the hurry when there is no need or no danger to anyone. If people want to go in and prepared to waver their safety let them go in and then we can put this issue to rest. The principle issue is they were promised by our PM everything possible would be done and it hasn’t pretty straight forward really.

  4. Paul 4

    The trolls are unable to defend the government’s inhumane and callous approach.

  5. Wayne 5

    Neil,

    Neither Solid Energy or the Govt operated the mine. Any default for the operation of the mine when it exploded surely belongs to the Pike River Mining company who owned and operated the mine.

    I am sure the regulatory situation (which is a definite govt responsibility) for mines could be improved, which I understand has been done following the disaster.

    I would note the regulatory situation for mines any the time of the explosion was the same it had been for many years. Presumably therefore that particular default covers all the governments responsible for mining regulations. Thus not just the current government.

    In fact I recall how pleased the Labour govt was when the mine opened. But it is now clear the mine was fundamentally deficient in that there really was no practical escape route except through the main tunnel/drift. The alternate was a shaft hundreds of feet high (the one where you see the flames gouting from) and it not a practical escape route.

    I simply don’t think there is any form of conspiracy about the cause of the explosion. The cause of that is clear enough, which was a build up of methane to explosive levels, in a mine that was known to be “gassy”.

    My understanding is that a specific concern of the families is that some of the miners may have been able to partially rescue themselves, and perhaps were overcome by gas. They want to know that. And I presume (if there were survivors from the immediate explosion) that perhaps a different mine design meant they might have been able to escape.

    • Paul 5.1

      This should be above party politics, Wayne.
      29 people died.
      Remember that.
      Before point scoring.

      • Wayne 5.1.1

        Paul,

        Merely mentioning that the mining regs were the same under both National and Labour is hardly “point scoring”.

        A large number of commenters on this site seem to think the govt is actively covering something up. But I simply don’t buy that. Much more likely there was a disastrous chain of errors that cumulatively proved to be fatal. And this was pretty indicated by the inquiry.

        The reason why I have said there should be an independent engineering and safety review of the current situation, that would enable the families case for re-entry to be considered, is precisely because 29 families are greiving.

        • Once was and others etc 5.1.1.1

          “Much more likely there was a disastrous chain of errors that cumulatively proved to be fatal.”
          Or
          much more likely electrical connections were shoddy (as relayed to me by a electrical inspector guy that actually went into the place – AND with his girlfriend at the time), and who tried to flag it as being a problem.
          That ‘chain of errors’ you speak of are “most likely” managerial process ones that could have been remedied had the department responsible for inspections been properly resourced.
          But then I suspect you already know that

          • Wensleydale 5.1.1.1.1

            “Errors” is this instance is a euphemism for a series of conscious decisions made to both cut costs, and expedite the process of coal extraction once it became embarrassing to continually go cap in hand to investors just to remain afloat. They were desperate to get coal out of that mine, and were prepared to ignore the safety and well-being of their workers to do it.

            Rebecca Macfie’s book details a litany of failure from the top down, including bad design, substandard equipment, inadequate processes that weren’t followed, reports that were buried or ignored and a general level of negligence that beggars belief. This was utterly and irrefutably criminal, and someone should be made to answer for it.

        • philj 5.1.1.2

          Sure Wayne, both governments were involved, but you overlook that it happened on Nationals watch. So you don’t expect incoming Governments to rectify any shocking H and S laws once they win power?
          Wait for the wheels to fall off approach sums it up. Eh Wayne. Accountability is seriously lacking and your lot and Labour are due to get their dues. Trump and Brexit and a ‘brighter future’. Key is great at reading tea leaves.

    • Pat 5.2

      “I would note the regulatory situation for mines any the time of the explosion was the same it had been for many years. Presumably therefore that particular default covers all the governments responsible for mining regulations. Thus not just the current government”

      and Im sure that the enforcement of those regulations was about as vigorous as MPIs response to dumping has been on this governments watch.

    • The methane detection system was designed to warn of escalating methane levels. Someone was responsible for monitoring those levels. Someone was responsible for checking that the system was operating as it was designed to do.

      If you were part of the work-force there, would you trust your employer to keep you safe? Was a union rep part of the monitoring and checking?

      I haven’t noticed National or Labour calling for the explanation for why the disaster happened – why are the government and opposition colluding in a cover-up? I think the families ought to include a call for accountability with their demand for extraction of the bodies.

    • saveNZ 5.4

      Wayne, nobody has been held responsible because the National government made it that way. They allowed the company directors to get off with out criminal proceedings. The government did not oversee regulatory requirements of an acceptable standard for the working conditions or the RMA which they are still trying to deregulate further. God knows it’s pretty slack standards to meet now, they seem to want Pike River for every industry.

      • WILD KATIPO 5.4.1

        An interesting article by Penny Bright ( which many of her detractors would discredit offhand simply because it is Penny Bright ) highlighted something that is pertinent.

        Those of us will remember right back at the beginning of Keys tenure, both Key and Brownlee advocated the opening up of our national parks for mineral exploration – to be executed using open cast techniques.

        Put to the public in submissions , – it failed with around 98% rejecting the proposal.

        Had it gone ahead , and because underground mining is inherently more expensive to operate , – and inherently more dangerous , … there were moves afoot ( and still are ) to pursue the case for offshore mining extraction company’s to be able to use open cast techniques rather than underground operations ( as well as off our coastlines eg : fracking etc ) and in ecologically sensitive areas ( such as ironsands on our beaches ) as well as in our national parks.

        Many of them still retaining a license for future prospecting and extraction .

        That in itself is food for thought.

    • Every time there is a disaster of this magnitude I keep hearing the word ‘ conspiracy ‘ being bandied about.

      Its wearing thin.

      Why?

      Because if we were to adopt that convenient line of thinking … we may just as well denigrate the work of our own police force. It is the work of law enforcement and such agencies to leave no stone unturned – no matter if some of the public or politicians thinks it is ‘ conspiracy ‘ or not.

      In fact we demand of them ( law enforcement ) that they are diligent in that pursuit and are impartial .

      The very reason a police force exists is because human nature being what it is, is prone at times to actions and behavior that is detrimental to the rest of us for whatever motives . Politicians and officials are no exception.

      The fact is , when it can be demonstrated that indeed there has been collusion , corruption ,… that sends an unpleasant , negative shockwave through the populace of betrayal by officialdom. Particularly in this country where we seem to pride ourselves on being more or less immune to that sort of situation. The truth is we’re not.

      We are risk adverse and cling to notions of deference to authority and that simply because those in authority claim something therefore it must be right. After all ,… surely our officials have access to the best information?

      The flip side of that is yes indeed they might have that information ,… but the temptation then is to cover for individuals and organisations that may have reason to fear all the facts coming out for public scrutiny. And yet the only way to dispel that is to disseminate information after exploring all avenues . They have not done that – in fact, – exactly the opposite.

      Simply put, this govt under Key distanced itself from Pike River and let executive decision be made by a state owned company that has shown obstinance and bully tactics ever since it took over from Pike River Coal Ltd.

      Which then became convenient for the Key led govt to stonewall equally as valid experts opinions and reports that contradict the stance of Solid Energy and Worksafe NZ in their maniacal hurry to forever close down any chance of there ever being a chance of further evidence of culpability.

  6. Tamati Tautuhi 6

    It’s a repeat of “The Erebus Crash” an “orchestrated litany of lies” – quote Justice Mahon

    • Sam C 6.1

      Where exactly is your evidence of an “orchestrated litany of lies”? Oh, that’s right, you don’t have any. Making shit up again.

      • One Anonymous Bloke 6.1.1

        Lies such as telling people that deregulation is the right way to go because market forces will protect workers from poor employers.

        From the Royal Commission’s report:

        Pike, a new company with no underground coal mining experience, was able to obtain a permit to develop the mine, with no scrutiny of its initial plans for meeting health and safety requirements, and little ongoing scrutiny.

        How can this happen without people (like you) lying to themselves and others about workplace regulations and culture?

        A witness with almost 40 years’ mining experience, who was trained in an English colliery, recounted safety incidents at Pike that he attributed to a gung-ho attitude underground. Inexperienced workers could be overconfident, failed to understand how their actions endangered others and did not treat mining with respect.
        He attributed these problems mainly to the experience ratio, saying
        that there were too few experienced miners to set and maintain the required standards.

        How can this happen without people (like you) lying to one another that “she’ll be right mate”?

        As Pike’s health and safety manager told the commission, his brief from the company was to develop a world-class health and safety management system. Much time and effort was devoted to putting in place what was seen as a
        best practice system. Documents were drawn up, systems were prescribed and training programmes established. But, as discussed in the chapters on health and safety management and the critical mine systems, commitment from others was lacking. The board and executive management did not lead the process. Most documents remained in draft, and many were not followed anyway. Systems were set up, but were not used as intended. Safety information was not well monitored, and internal and external review of the system was very limited.

        How can this be accounted for unless people (like you) lied to themselves?

        • Sam C 6.1.1.1

          None of those soundbites from the Royal Commission report are lies, OAB. They’re policy and regulatory decisions which are completely out in the public domain. They may have been fatally flawed policies, but they are not in and of themselves lies.

          Where are your quotes from the report that say there was “an orchestrated litany of lies”? Oh, that’s right, there aren’t any.

          • One Anonymous Bloke 6.1.1.1.1

            Really, you believe a situation such as the one described can occur without people lying to themselves, building up completely false ideas?

            Have your amygdala checked.

        • wellfedweta 6.1.1.2

          “Lies such as telling people that deregulation is the right way to go because market forces will protect workers from poor employers.”

          You’re partly right. Since deregulation, workplace fatalities have remained virtually unchanged. The problem is this is the result of ‘safe’ industries experiencing a decline in workplace fatalities, while ‘unsafe’ industries has experienced an increase. In addition to that, there has been significant government intervention in these unsafe industries since deregulation, so it is simply incorrect that claim that there has been a ‘she’ll be right’ attitude to these incidents.

          Of greater concern is that NZ’s incidence of work place fatalities is not DECLINING, as it is in Australia and the US. Both of those countries have a degree of de-regulation/self-regulation, so that, in and of itself, does not seem to be the problem.

          The issue is explored in more detail here http://www.econ.canterbury.ac.nz/personal_pages/phil_gunby/pubs/oshnzjer.pdf, and I’ll quote from the conclusion:

          “However, the data also shows that there has been no noticeable increase in the average fatality rate in the industry, and furthermore, the numbers of deaths from mining are usually very low and sometimes even zero. The Pike River disaster is likely one of those terrible low-probability, high-death mining events that occurs once every generation in New Zealand. What about occupational safety in general? Here, the data is also unequivocal. A handful of
          industries have consistently higher fatality rates than other industries, namely agriculture, fishing, forestry, construction, manufacturing and transportation, and of course mining. This pattern is also found in other countries. However, in contrast to other countries, who have falling occupational fatality rates, the overall fatality rate has not declined in New Zealand.”

          • One Anonymous Bloke 6.1.1.2.1

            My comment is in specific reference to the passage quoted: Inexperienced workers could be overconfident, failed to understand how their actions endangered others and did not treat mining with respect. aka: “She’ll be right”.

            These homicides were an entirely predictable – and predicted – outcome. Far from being “terribly low-probability”, even a cursory reading of the Royal Commission report indicates that the workplace culture and lack of regulatory and managerial oversight made this crime inevitable.

            As for the failure to decline, wormfarms.

            • wellfedweta 6.1.1.2.1.1

              No, your comment was not prefaced by any such rider. I understand you have been writing about PR, but your comments about deregulation have gone well beyond that one specific example. The paper I referenced is an authoritative study of safety in NZ and the fact is that deregulation has not increased the incidence of workplace issues, in fact in some industries the number if incidences has declined dramatically since deregulation.

              My view is you are simply engaging in a knee jerk reaction by blaming some kind of imagined bogey man, for which you have zero evidence. We could easily lay the blame with Andrew Little and the Union (http://nzagainstthecurrent.blogspot.com/2014/12/how-andrew-little-failed-pike-river.html) . Both opinions are based on nothing more than some kind of ideological bias.

              PR was a disaster in an industry that has a long history of similar disasters in NZ, before deregulation. Your spin isn’t helping, in fact it is impeding, finding real answers to why these men dies and how we prevent a re-occurrence.

      • michelle 6.1.2

        making shit up again sounds like you are describing our last PM and his party they have been making shit up since being elected Sam its called lies

  7. Nick 7

    creepy slime ball Hoskin doing his Pike River marketing pitch for the natzis on the herald….seems to be natzis argument is to just leave it….nothing to see here, move along….sounds like there ex leader alright….

  8. Paul 9

    The revolting Hosking attacks the miners’ families.
    Scum.
    Like Key and Bennett, another who has pulled up the ladder.
    Does he have a shred of empathy in his body?

    http://www.nzherald.co.nz/nz/news/article.cfm?c_id=1&objectid=11765664

  9. Tautoko Mangō Mata 10

    This by WILD KATIPO deserves to be repeated and to be read by a wider section of the public.

    Simply put, this govt under Key distanced itself from Pike River and let executive decision be made by a state owned company that has shown obstinance and bully tactics ever since it took over from Pike River Coal Ltd.

    Which then became convenient for the Key led govt to stonewall equally as valid experts opinions and reports that contradict the stance of Solid Energy and Worksafe NZ in their maniacal hurry to forever close down any chance of there ever being a chance of further evidence of culpability.

    However, according to Hoskings:

    “The Government have listened, and they have reports, and they disagree with the protesters. It’s that simple.”

    Compare and contrast the writing styles.

  10. Tarquin 11

    There is a comment on Kiwiblog G.D by brett68 on this subject that makes interesting reading.

    • Rosemary McDonald 11.1

      yep, just been reading that …and…followed the links. Clever and rather deceitful are those on the far right.

      Talk about deep mining….hope the roof caves.

      I have no problem whatsoever with a PR consultancy firm assisting the Pike River families.

      If there is political capital to be made from this sorry affair then it is up to the incumbent government to mitigate the fallout by being transparent and cooperative,

      And stop enabling the Pike River Cover up.

  11. nzsage 12

    I took a stroll to parliament today to support the Pike River families. Happy to be corrected but I didn’t see a single Nat MP there.

    Just five minutes later I spot Jonathan Coleman taking a leisurely stroll down Lambton Quay doing a bit of window shopping.

    That’s priorities and time management all rolled into one.

  12. Rosemary McDonald 13

    http://www.nzherald.co.nz/nz/news/article.cfm?c_id=1&objectid=11766014

    Political savvy or genuine support…?

    “New Zealand First leader Winston Peters has offered himself to be the first to re-enter the Pike River mine where 29 miners perished in 2010.

    Peters told families gathered at Parliament today that he’s read the safety reports and he’s willing to go in.

    He said it could be called a symbolic or a token gesture but he’s serious.

    Peters said he was expressing his confidence in the advice the Pike River families were getting that it’s safe to re-enter the mine.

    Peters himself worked in mines in the late 60s.

    He said the issue was being covered up because the Government’s afraid that what’s found in the mine will show there was a lack of safety procedures.

    More to come.”

    • saveNZ 13.1

      That is why people love Winston Peters, even if you don’t vote for NZ First!

      Winston understands what is important and does not hide behind bureaucracy – the public are crying out for politicians who are in touch with the people in a real way, not just meet and greets.

      As for Mr bureaucracy Bill himself, English, anyone can see the fobbing off of ‘it’s solid energy decision’ when solid energy is a government’s State Owned Enterprise. Bit like Auckland Council not being in charge when it suits them of Ports of Auckland.

    • Paul 13.2

      A great and courageous move.

  13. Adrian 14

    There’s no way Winnie can go into Pike River, it’s a six or seven hour job and you can’t take your fags with you.
    But if he does he really should do it like the hard bastards do Everest, without oxygen.
    Good on him anyway, calling out all the gutless Nat pollies

    • Paul 14.1

      He is one politician who has some guts.
      Puts Key, English, Bennett et al to shame.

      • Red 14.1.1

        No he is a populist, he is far more effective in opposition as he can say what he likes and simply make it up as he goes

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