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Third world NZ

Written By: - Date published: 10:05 pm, September 5th, 2011 - 122 comments
Categories: class war - Tags: ,

A miner crawls out of a mine explosion, gets to an emergency station and finds it’s empty. It was decommissioned but the workers were never told.

Meanwhile nobody outside realises there’s been an explosion until an electrician drives straight into the aftermath and only just manages to save himself from the deadly fumes. That would have been about twenty minutes after the blast – that’s some early warning system.

These stories and others that have come out of the Pike River inquiry are stories from the third world. But they happened here.

And they happened against a backdrop of cowboy capitalism and deregulation that has marked the last thirty years of New Zealand’s history.

A few months ago I heard Helen Kelly talk about Pike and about the Hobbit. She pointed out that the wanton disregard for workers’ safety at Pike is part of the same culture that saw our Prime Minister bend over backwards to take work rights off film workers when Warners came calling. That that culture is about a job being a privilege and about the belief that anyone that asks for more, be it more rights, more pay or simply a safer workplace is branded a troublemaker and a risk to business.

I know a lot of the media and most of the gallery have heard Kelly give this speech. She gave it at Labour’s conference, she gave it at the CTU conference, she’s given it elswhere. We published a variant of it here back in April.

But as far as I can tell none of the gallery believe this is a message that bears repeating. I think they believe it’s just another form of political rhetoric or perhaps it’s simply that they look down on anything that isn’t Clever Political Tactics.

Of course these are the same people that made a hero of Pike manager, Peter Whittall in the days following the blast. A man that made his workers dig a hole if they needed to shit.

122 comments on “Third world NZ”

  1. Colonial Viper 1

    I changed my mind. We should sell off all our coal mines to China. Because when they’re managed this badly, and with the loss of so much life, they might as well already be Chinese coal mines.

    • mik e 1.1

      Gerry Brownoselee said a company that spends $ 300million on the mine wouldn’t take short cuts .
      Dickensian days are back.New Zealand management is stuck in the 1840’s mentality.They promote and pay for the laissez fair approach.The National party take the money and put the laissez fair policy into place and then find someone else to scapegoat.It’ll be whitall most likely.

      • Colonial Viper 1.1.1

        The space shuttle Challenger is proof that people do spend a shit load of money and take shortcuts.

        Some quite new buildings in Christchurch worth many millions, in after-quake inspections, shortcuts in the construction process not previously noticed became obvious.

        Conclusion:

        Brownlee is a woodworking moron.

    • Rich 1.2

      Not sure how you move them, apart from digging all the coal out, burying it again in a big hole in China and then setting up all the mining equipment around it.

    • ChrisH 1.3

      I heard somewhere that after Pike River NZ became more dangerous to mine coal than China, statistically speaking.

      • aerobubble 1.3.1

        MPs voted to remove the inspector regime, these MPs are on the record
        for having voted for that change, so where are they, have none of them
        any shame, why aren’t they being recalled by a select committee to be
        asked why they voted for such a now disasterous policy. Murdoch
        has been called by the UK parliament to answer, why not those MPs
        and bureaucrats who watered down this policy, surely they have a right
        to answer the accusations now quite regularly heard in the news media.
        That the regulations weren’t up to scratch.

  2. Oligarkey 2

    But worker safety cuts in to profit margins. Me and David Farrar have no sympathy. They chose the job and knew it was dangerous. The main thing is that the heroic business owners were safe so they can heroically grow the profit margins of the company. Ask anyone at kiwiblog. They’ll tell you the same things.

    • McFlock 2.1

      Indeed – the brave investors and managers risked everything they had to keep that mine open. Why on earth does there need to be a taxpayer-funded investigation?
      [vomit]
       

      • aerobubble 2.1.1

        Do you think its a risk for Chinese investors who don’t understand western
        culture, that we like to be more productive with far less people. So
        investors were not suspicious enough to double check that safety was
        indeed in place, that a culture of safety was not just talk and paper trails?
        Sort of a reversal of the colonialism, where western investor knowingly
        or not shipped Opium to China?

    • Shane Gallagher 2.2

      They are Randian Heroes that Ayn would have (not) shed a tear of pride for. As the workers are not Randian Heroes they are unworthy and their sacrifice to the greater ones will be noted. Or not. Probably not.

      (Note for all the cutsey-wutesy trolls; I know how sensitive you all are, deep down – those words are sarcastic)

  3. gingercrush 3

    Where was the union then? Do they not take any responsibility?

    • Colonial Viper 3.1

      yeah the union should take responsibility for not shutting the fucking corporate death trap down 18 months ago.

    • Eddie 3.2

      that’s fucken pathetic, ginger.

      The company is responsible for worker safety. Pike River was strongly anti-union and used contractors extensively to keep costs (safety and wages) and unionisation down – as evidenced by the fact that only about half of the men killed were union members. In other mines, everyone is union.

      The EPMU has been calling for improvements to mine worker safety for years. In particular, it wants the re-institution of check inspectors, which National abolished in 1992.

      You’ll be glad to know that Labour has listened to the miners’ union and its mining policy is basically everything the miners want in terms of safety.

      • grumpy 3.2.1

        “The EPMU has been calling for improvements to mine worker safety for years. In particular, it wants the re-institution of check inspectors, which National abolished in 1992.”

        So, the EPMU, despite having Andrew Little as it’s president, didn’t get any joy out of the last Labour government – eh??

        • bbfloyd 3.2.1.1

          actually they did grumpy…… they commissioned a study….it reported back with it’s recommendations that agreed with pretty much everything that the miners were saying…. but guess what? the commission produced it’s findings in 2009…

          it was kate wilkinson, with instructions from above, who shelved the findings… so we have a pm, and labour minister with blood on their hands… and all you can do is point fingers at the ones who actually did do something rather than the ones who sat by, knowing the facts as they had been published, and allowed the company to sacrifice those men…

          these are human lives you are playing your nasty little games with… i would advise caution if you decide to share this view with people out in the real world…

          • grumpy 3.2.1.1.1

            Geez! It took 9 years to do a “study”???

            Just think, if it was as urgent a priority as you claim it was with the EPMU and Labour, the study would have been transformed into regulation in Labour’s first term – let alone 3.

            You will, of course, note that National have done it in their first????

            • Blighty 3.2.1.1.1.1

              It’s fun to watch you retreat with each comment, grumpy.

              This started off as you attacking the EPMU for the safety standards at Pike River. Then attacking labour for not listening to the dear EPMU. Then saying that Labour didn’t act fast enough.

              Btw, National hasn’t done anything. It has just announced a policy that doesn’t go nearly as far as what the miners/EPMU want and what Labour is promising

            • The Voice of Reason 3.2.1.1.1.2

              The Miners only amalgamated with the EPMU around the end of Clark’s second term, in part because they wanted the ability to lobby for changes such as those the study ended up recommending. To get it up and running in such a short time shows just how well resourced the EPMU is. If you know anything about union history, grumpy, you’d recognise that the amalgamation was a significant coup for Little.
               
              Just as an aside, the EPMU has stood with the Pike River families since the accident, including legal representation at the union’s own cost because Key is a complete bastard and has refused the union the same subsidies he has gifted other legal teams.

  4. ropata 4

    GENEVA (ILO News) – Over one million work-related deaths occur annually according to ILO estimates and hundreds of millions of workers suffer from workplace accidents and occupational exposure to hazardous substances worldwide, the Chief of the ILO’s Health and Safety programme told delegates assembled today in São Paulo at the opening of the 15th World Congress on Occupational Safety and Health.

    In a speech to the introductory session of the Congress, Dr. Jukka Takala, Chief of the ILO’s Health and Safety programme, pointed out that the workplace hecatomb of 1.1 million deaths exceeds the average annual deaths from road accidents (999,000), war (502,000), violence (563,000) and HIV/AIDS (312,000). Approximately one-quarter of those deaths result from exposure to hazardous substances which cause such disabling illnesses as cancer and cardiovascular, respiratory and nervous-system disorders.

  5. tsmithfield 5

    “And they happened against a backdrop of cowboy capitalism and deregulation that has marked the last thirty years of New Zealand’s history.”

    The Pike River case is a very tragic, but anecdotal example. The trend in workplace accidents is down. So, by and large I think NZ industry takes safety fairly seriously these days. We are involved in designing automated systems and safety is always the number one priority for both ourselves and our clients.

    • Eddie 5.1

      there have got to be serious questions asked about how Whittall was defied by the media and the government immediately after the disaster.

      If 29 people died doing their jobs at your work, the first questions would go to whether the employer had maintained adequate safety but the line that this was an unavoidable accident was swallowed whole in those first few days. The NZ media even attacked the Aussie jounro who dared to ask Whittall about safety – booing him when he asked questions.

    • Colonial Viper 5.2

      The Pike River case is a very tragic, but anecdotal example. The trend in workplace accidents is down. (1) So, by and large I think NZ industry takes safety fairly seriously these days. (2) We are involved in designing automated systems and safety is always the number one priority for both ourselves and our clients. (3)

      (1) Hey, cool, you just statistically averaged away the Pike River deaths. And what the fuck do you mean by calling the Pike River deaths “anecdotal”??? That’s just stupid, you mean there is no scientific evidence that a tragedy actually occurred???

      (2) What exactly does taking safety “fairly seriously” mean? because at Pike River they should have paid it “very serious” attention not “fairly serious” attention. Big difference there.

      (3) That’;s just a slogan from your marketing dept. I bet you safety is not “the number one priority” in your client bid documents. I bet its listed around bullet point five or six. Or ten. So maybe you mean “the number six priority” which would make it a “fairly serious” priority.

      • mickysavage 5.2.1

        Yep TS you can’t minimise this and suggest that things are hunky dory.
         
        The evidence that came out yesterday made me shudder.  An emergency phone line that goes to an answer phone, 20 minutes elapsing before the explosion was discovered by management, missing emergency kits, you cannot get much worse.
         
        And we had this MSM eulogising of Whittall and Key and the demonising of Kelly when the blame clearly lies with management and National.
         
        Blame the unions?  How crazy is that.  The Right have spent 40 years undermining and destroying the trade union movement and then says it is the unions fault because it no longer lacks the vitality to demand and insist on high quality safety standards.

        • tsmithfield 5.2.1.1

          CV (1) “Hey, cool, you just statistically averaged away the Pike River deaths. And what the fuck do you mean by calling the Pike River deaths “anecdotal”??? That’s just stupid, you mean there is no scientific evidence that a tragedy actually occurred???”

          I would have thought you would understand what “anecdotal” meant. The undoubted tragedy and shoddy practice that occurred at Pike River is not indicative of the general standards of safety in NZ.

          CV “(2) What exactly does taking safety “fairly seriously” mean? because at Pike River they should have paid it “very serious” attention not “fairly serious” attention. Big difference there.”

          Our workers have to attend health and safety inductions at all our major clients. We have to meet high safety standards ourselves before we are even allowed to tender for work with our large clients.

          CV “(3) That’;s just a slogan from your marketing dept. I bet you safety is not “the number one priority” in your client bid documents. I bet its listed around bullet point five or six. Or ten. So maybe you mean “the number six priority” which would make it a “fairly serious” priority.”

          You should stop mindless blathering because it makes it quite obvious that you have no idea whatsoever what you are talking about.

          MS “Yep TS you can’t minimise this and suggest that things are hunky dory.”

          Not trying to minimise what happened at Pike River. Just trying to show that it is not typical of industry generally in NZ who take safety very seriously by and large, as the reduction in workplace accident claims suggests. FYI my company almost got involved with supplying a heap of second-hand equipment to Pike River because they didn’t have the funds for new. In hindsight this suggests to me that lack of cash might have been at the root of their problems.

          • McFlock 5.2.1.1.1

            Provisional 2009 ACC workplace injury stats: 89 workplace deaths (likely to increase in final count), 11% EFTEs rate of workplace injury. 25% of agricultural/fisheries EFTE.
              
            Safety might be taken seriously, but it doesn’t immediately aid production- the manager’s  temptation is always to put off expenditure there “just for a bit” until something gives a scare.
              
            The cycle I noticed in venue security was there would be “no trouble”, so managers would reduce security levels over years (and the pay would remain constant, i.e. a reduction in real terms) until there was a major incident, at which point contractors would be changed, levels and pay increased, and the cycle would start again.

          • flossie 5.2.1.1.2

            “FYI my company almost got involved with supplying a heap of second-hand equipment to Pike River because they didn’t have the funds for new. In hindsight this suggests to me that lack of cash might have been at the root of their problems.”

            Have you passed that information on to the Royal Commission? It could be relevant.

    • just saying 5.3

      If recorded numbers of workplace accidents are indeed trending down, the fact that ACC levies are tied to reported accidents is likely to be a significant factor.
      I know of two people at different workplaces who were told to register their work accidents as happening outside work. They could have refused but they quite liked having a job.

      I think it is outrageous for you to suggest that deregulating worker safety has resulted in fewer accidents. But then I guess you also believe that deregulating the building industry resulted in better building practices and better quality houses.

      Must be a very cosy planet you live on TS.

      • tsmithfield 5.3.1

        Where have I suggested that safety has been deregulated. In my experience, the a visit from OSH due to an accident is feared more than an IRD audit.

        • grumpy 5.3.1.1

          ….and all the visits from OSH only focus on the “paperwork” being correct. OSH is a sop to safety and actually has the opposite effect – giving the illusion of safety while achieving bugger all!

    • mik e 5.4

      Deaths have gone up since 2000

  6. HC 6

    None of this surprises me, and when the first news came out about the Pike River Mine disaster, I already suspected that this was likely due to poor standards.

    I have seen poor standards in a fair few work places I worked in over the years here in NZ.

    The most worrying thing was that the workers working under such conditions did not really worry all that much about protective clothing, up to scratch technical standards and so forth. The boss being lax with that was also a bit lax in other areas, which they felt was giving them “leeway” in doing their job and associated responsibilities.

    The collapse of the unions due to the ECA (introduced in 1991 if I am right) has led to a lot of this.

    But of course the politicians belonging to the party or parties that created the mess do of course deny all responsibility.

    I am actually quite astonished that our whole government has not yet been out-sourced and off-shored to be managed from some other exotic place like Vanuatu, Hong Kong, the Bahamas, Panama or whatever place of more commercial and administrative “freedoms”.

    Maybe that is yet to come once Key and consorts get a second and then a third term (after bringing in austerity and enabling laws that will do away with a lot of parliamentary and silly democratic nonsense). Watch this space!

    • Draco T Bastard 6.1

      But of course the politicians belonging to the party or parties that created the mess do of course deny all responsibility.

      This. We have to hold them and the policies that they introduced as being responsible else there will never be any change.

  7. Jenny 7

    Coal mining is the technology of the 19th Century, and has no place in the 21st.

    That is of course, if we truly valued our climate, or our workers and their families.

    All coal exports should be banned and the industry wound down, to be replaced with renewables.

    • Colonial Viper 7.1

      We might do OK in NZ, but even we would suffer occasional electricity supply disruption without coal plants. And that is with another billion dollars more investment in renewables.

      In places like the US and China, getting rid of coal would be a groundbreaking undertaking. Could it be done? Even with the absolute best will in the world and unlimited budgets it would probably be a 25 year project to phase out the use of coal for thermal and electrical purposes.

      There’s actually not much to replace it with; fossil fuels are just the absolute best for some applications in terms of energy density and heat output.

    • HC 7.2

      Jenny: I agree that we must move away from the use of fossil fuels. But at the same time we must be realistic, that there will inevitably be a transitional period, where we have no choice but to continue using such energy resources for preparing for a different and sustainable future long term. There are very moder coal burning energy plants in some developed countries in Europe, probably also the US and Japan, which have filtering systems that are very effective in reducing harmful emissions to a minimum.

      A greater concern is our transport system, where we still encourage far too much the general use of individual motorised vehicles to transport their owners and passengers from A to B.

      The realities that already exist with reductions in new oil and gas fields that can be exploited, with oil, gas and also coal inevitably becoming so scarce, that also the price of these resources will become prohibitive to use, basically forces us to make radical changes now in our transport infrastructure.

      Even in China, a fast growing economic power still largely reliant on fossil fuels, having had a huge increase in motorisation, the government there has realised that they cannot continue with this. So they are making immense efforts to develop large scale solar, wind, hydro and other sustainable energy generation. In Beijing they are going to bring in a levy for motor vehicle drivers or owners to pay, if they want to use the city.

      NZ is under this government choosing to remain living in the past and only move ahead towards more sustainable energy generation and use at a snail’s pace.

      Public transport must become the primary form of transport for most in Auckland, Wellington, Christchurch, Dunedin, Hamilton and Palmerston North for a start.

      • Jenny 7.2.1

        Dear HC if you read my post you would see that I said ban coal exports and wind down the coal mining industry.

        All coal exports should be banned and the industry wound down, to be replaced with renewables.

        Jenny

        Where does that say, there shouldn’t be a transition period?

        In fact I just think you are being disingenuous,

        Jenny: I agree that we must move away from the use of fossil fuels. But…….

        HC

        HC, as the saying goes, everything before “But”, is bullshit.

        • HC 7.2.1.1

          Jenny: If anything before “but” is “shit”, then it cannot be “bullshit”, because the “but” would indicate that it must be “but-shit”.

          When you write “Coal mining is the technology of the 19th Century, and has no place in the 21st”, then this implies to me, that there is NO place for it now, so no place at all.

          It sounds rather uncompromising, and that is where the problem lies.

          With coal able to be used for energy generation with modern technology fairly sensibly, then I am realistic about the existing need for energy and how that need can and must be met.

          It is simplistic to have a total aye or nay position, especially since many countries with large populations are still very dependent on fossil fuels. Some like Germany even want to get rid of nuclear energy, but that will be impossible to replace within even decades with regenerative energy. So that country will temporarily switch over to more coal powered generation. That gives them a chance to develop other alternative energy generation more, so it will become more feasible and affordable.

          NZ may be able to go almost 100 % regenerative, but that is only due to the high percentage of hydro-electric generation. What about China, the UK, France, Korea, Japan and many other countries?

          Also is a more global approach to change needed, because NZ going it alone will not achieve much. That does not mean we should go down that better way though.

          • Colonial Viper 7.2.1.1.1

            Coal fired trains and shipping will be a 21st century reality.

            • HC 7.2.1.1.1.1

              I am not sure about that, but there will in many countries be a high demand for energy to simply heat homes, turn the lights on, have computers run and of course factories, offices and urban public transport powered.

              Private motor cars will become a privilege or luxury, because there we have immense waste of energy that will become unaffordable and simply cannot be justified to be powered with fossil fuel any longer.

              • Jenny

                ……but there will in many countries be a high demand for energy to simply heat homes, turn the lights on, have computers run and of course factories, offices and urban public transport powered.

                HC

                HC I don’t think you realise the urgency of the problem, and the dire danger that civilisation and the climate are facing.

                New Zealand needs to take the international lead.

                Cutting back electricity by emergency regulation, as in war time, would be one way of New Zealand doing completely away with the need for fossil fuel for electricity generation.

                Known commonly as the World War II solution.

                To meet the emergency, all public lighting at night to be banned in a blackout, as was done in World War II.

                No street lighting.

                No high rises, or offices to be left, all lit up at night.

                All office cleaning to be done in daylight hours. (it would do the souls of the managerial and office staff a power of good to meet their cleaners)

                The same with supermarkets where the lighting is left on all night for shelve stackers, this must be done in daylight hours.

                Gas stations and convenient stores to close down at dusk. (if you want fuel or toilet paper buy it during the day)

                Restaurants and cinemas can stay open. (No need to be a killjoy)

                But no lighting for advertising, no neon signs, or illuminated billboards, (The only possible exception being if they are powered by stand-alone solar charged lighting.)

                If it can’t be done during the day, then it can’t be done.

                The above is only one of a number of iconic world challenging initiatives New Zealand could take.

                HC, If you think such a measure is to ‘extreme’ then you don’t have any understanding of the enormity of the looming threat.

                You may say HC, that just New Zealand doing something like this would not achieve much. And on one level you are right. If New Zealand completely cut all CO2 emissions – Quantitatively it would be a drop in the ocean.

                But qualitatively, potentially it would be an iconic statement, capturing the whole world’s attention. Such an example would hopefully see other countries focusing their minds on the terrible dangers we all face.

                Other governments and peoples concentrating on finding global solutions to the way out of this deathtrap, will feel compelled to follow New Zealand’s example and also take extreme measures against fossil fuel use.

                In my opinion, New Zealand among all nations is well placed to take the lead.

                And if other countries don’t take that lead, and the worst comes to the worst, then at least we can proudly say. “We did our very best”.

                • HC

                  Jenny –

                  With your list of suggestions I may suggest you propose this to the general public for open discussion (this thread is a start) and then go into an election to have the voters vote on it. Even with a lot of appealing, information and attempted convincing you will get very, very little support for such proposals.

                  There is no need to do what you are proposing.

                  The technology that already exists to use solar energy (whether to heat water for home use through special panels on roofs, or whether by using the better known solar panels to generate electricity) can be mass produced, purchase and installed into almost all roofs of buildings all over NZ. Many homes would not need electricity off the grid.

                  Wind generators of various sizes can be erected. There are small ones that are used in parts of Europe (UK, Germany and other countries), can be installed on or near buildings, and that deliver sufficient electricity for homes when there is wind.

                  Tidal power generation is in planning and already in construction in parts of Europe. Germany will soon generate a fifth of all electricity through renewables sustainably, and more is planned.

                  Of course when combining this with more efficient use of energy, conservation and constantly improved technology to use all kinds of generation, be this solar, wind, tidal, hydro, geothermal and to a lesser degree outdated fossil energy, we will be able to power NZ for centuries to come with no problem.

                  By restructuring the whole economy and infrastructure, we could create an economic boom here, which would be a world leading example of how an energy revolution can stimulate the economy, create new employment and ensure future stability by less dependence on oil, gas and what else we need to import.

                  There is NO need to impose austerity if you do it smartly.

                  • Colonial Viper

                    There is NO need to impose austerity if you do it smartly.

                    electricity is not NZ’s problem, transport fuels are.

                    Petrol is going straight to $4/L in the next couple of years (briefly first during spikes and then more consistently a few years after that) and at that stage you won’t have to impose any energy austerity, it will do it all by itself.

                    As for doing things smartly. There are ten or less years before it becomes very hard to carry out projects of significant scale. I figure one or two billion in investment is necessary every year between now and then in order to get the country ready.

                    By restructuring the whole economy and infrastructure, we could create an economic boom here

                    The boom will be shortlived over the next decade as the investment and work is pumped into the economy. From then there will be very little growth but we will already have the infrastructure needed for a gradual, safe, civilised industrial power down.

                    • HC

                      CV –

                      Done smartly the whole energy revolution would more or less pay for itself. We would have high manufacturing, construction and other activities leading to high level employment, new demand for labour, increased training and education, more paid taxes, savings in imports of refined petroleum products (petrol, diesel and other fuels), get sustainable energy generation, more efficient use of electricity and fossil fuels still in use, will be able to achieve production of primary and other products in a cheaper, more sustainable manner, generate more export incomes, spend less on imports and would be better off in many ways.

                      Combine this with a fairer tax system, modern public transport, new village style urban community development, improved social cohesion through involvement of citizens, better health outcomes due to people walking more (to public transport stops), cycling and perhaps growing part of their foods in community or own gardens – and everybody is bound to gain, except the dinosaur minded, archaic, backward, exploiting, dumbing-down capitalist oligarch and hollow politician that talks, smiles but has no ideas and does deliver NOTHING – but empty promises and dodgy propaganda. Such loosers could be well digested by the rest of us.

                    • Colonial Viper

                      HC are you a member of the Greens or Labour or any other party?

                      We should keep chatting and swapping ideas.

                      One thing to look hard at for NZ – how industrial ag/hort can keep going as it is but in a highly oil constrained environment. Basically, I do not think it can and that leads to lots of interesting challenges, an entire restructuring of how we look at food production in NZ.

                      Done smartly the whole energy revolution would more or less pay for itself.

                      From a global perspective you are correct, it will mean major wealth/asset reallocation within the country and ‘winners/losers’. NZ as a whole may not be worse off, but specific sectors and players will be.

                    • HC

                      I’m not a member of any party, but of course I’m having a strong tendency towards supporting environmental policies, as well as progressive, sustainable, and yet feasible, sensible and constructive economic ideas, which can move societies like NZs ahead, be fairer, more responsible and also accountable for the path and measures that need to be followed to get there.

                      Usually having to choose between parties to vote for, there is no perfect party from my view, so I simply vote for the one(s) that best match the list of my preferences with the policies they present and stand for. The more ticks, the more likely that they get my votes.

                      This has increasingly been tending towards the Greens, although I cannot agree with their policies in every aspect.

                      Labour does from my point of view need more of an internal revolution and re-focussing to become more appealing again. Who knows what will happen, they are of course much more preferable to the Smiling Assassin and his lot.

                    • Jenny

                      Now we’re thinking.

                      Great stuff guys.

                    • Jenny

                      We should keep chatting and swapping ideas.

                      Colonial Viper

                      Unfortunately I have to go to work in ten minutes.

                      More tonight?

                      What do you think?

                    • Colonial Viper

                      Jenny – I am sure to make an appearance on The Std (and this thread) tonight haha

                    • Jenny

                      ….electricity is not NZ’s problem, transport fuels are.

                      Colonial Viper

                      Indeed CV. And again you have to look outside the market model to find solutions.

                      The Belgium city of Hasshelt pop. 700,000, has the highest private car ownership in Europe but the lowest private car usage.

                      Hasselt was grid locked it’s motorway was choked and plans to build a new ring motorway at a cost of billions to ratepayers and the central government was in the pipeline.

                      Instead, at the fraction of the cost of a new motorway system, Hasselt introduced free public transport based on buses into every corner of the city. People abandoned their cars in droves. The average waiting time for a bus is 5 minutes and on no route is more than 30 minutes. The land planned for the new ring motorway was turned into a green belt public park.

                      Public transport usage leapt by several thousand percent within two years.

                      Compare this to Auckland where the preparation ground work for a $multi-billion underground motorway beneath Waterview which is to take 4 years to complete has just started.

                      With looming peak oil and climate change this project is doomed to be a giant albatross around the city’s shoulders long before it is even completed.

                      Hundreds of homes are to be bulldozed, and even some businesses. A giant ventilation extraction shaft for all that concentrated CO1 and CO2 threatens to poison the air near a local primary school over the objections of parents and teachers.

                      $Billions of public money are being wasted on this eco disaster, while the Christchurch rebuild lingers on.

                      For a fraction of the cost of this one motorway project, 3000 brand new low emissions buses could be on Auckland’s streets within months and be run fare free for twenty years.

                      Consider this: Auckand a city of over a million people is served by only 800 public buses. They are often late and sometimes never even turn up. The fumbling for change is inefficient and time consuming and frustrating for people queuing to get on.

                      The bus drivers not only have to cope with all the hazards and stresses of Auckland’s traffic congested roads, but also worry about complicated and fiddly cash handling and protection of their cash box.

                      Stupid archaic and inefficient – just the way the roading lobby and the fossil fuel industry like it.

      • aerobubble 7.2.2

        As energy prices rise, even before they do, companies, individuals, investors will
        start re-entering the market. But this cannot happen why the old guard defends
        the old regime. Social disruption is a real risk now, without a social justice
        debate to reinforce the basics of food, health, home and education there
        cannot be a rebuilding of trust that underrights money. The right peddle out
        their take no prisoners, that’s my tax money bennie bashing, and people
        hear that, they lock up and aren’t going to buy into any change until
        our politicians start signing from the new hymn sheet. That means Labour
        have to not only pound the right but also win.

        So like the Zombie plague movies, don’t make too much noise, make sure
        you have enought food and water, and keep moving. Civil society has
        collapsed, started with Zombie Zero Margret Thatcher.

        • Colonial Viper 7.2.2.1

          So like the Zombie plague movies, don’t make too much noise, make sure
          you have enought food and water, and keep moving.

          Wrong IMO, you have to live and stay in strong, supportive communities. Centres with a pop of 10,000 to 50,000 are probably ideal.

  8. vto 8

    Doesn’t surprise me one bit. Against all sorts of types telling me to shut my gob and wait for the inquiry I shouted as best I could that it was the result of exactly this – on here, around our traps, to people who would listen. Thing was – people listened but they didn’t really hear. Just sort of went in one ear and out the other.

    Couple of things – I agree that the union should step up to the mark and start really hounding the government and industry. Big time. (perhaps after the election…). These 29 dead men deserve being fought for. Ramp things way up and bring in the best standards available.

    And secondly, you think this Pike was sub-standard? You should get yourself around the other many smaller and not so smaller outfits around the mining industry. You would be horrified. Today on the coast. Yesterday. Tomorrow. Death traps. Unions need to get even more stuck in at these ones. Good luck though – you will come up against it.

    Whittall will bear the initial brunt but quite clearly the responsibility lies with those who set the rules and regs. That is the national govt who let the regulations go, the last labor govt who did nothing about it, and the unions for being pussies. Plus of course the mine owners, the capital, who don’t give a shit about human life or death as long as it was an “accident”.

    Shame shame shame.

  9. marsman 9

    And great shame on the MSM for not doing their job by asking questions.

  10. Hilary 10

    Peter Whittal was a victim too. He had to do what his employers/board of directors told him and within the resources they gave him. The blame needs to go higher up.

    • Colonial Viper 10.1

      Agreed that the blame needs to go to the Board of the parent company. Of course, that is why they have these elaborate legal structures so the mafia heads at the top are always insulated when the functionaries below get picked up.

      However. Whittal can only be classed as a victim if he fought his board for increased safety standards, fought his board for more budget for safety equipment, issued reports which made it clear that he was not happy with the operational standards in the mine and that they needed to be improved and he needed the resources to make it happen.

      So, did he?

      Otherwise he’s just another lackey following orders from the top for a pay packet, and should be lined up with the rest of them.

      • uke 10.1.1

        Although legally immune – through the thoroughly immoral mechanism of “limited liability” – could not the blame also go “down” to the investors who enabled this catastrophe and were quite willing to take a return from cost-cutting practices?

      • insider 10.1.2

        Do you know what Whittal’s job was before becoming CEO? He was the mine manager – he designed the mine and its operations. Unless he has a really good paper trail I don’t think he will be able to blame the board. Interesting that the former CEO Gordon Cairns has largely escaped notice even though all the precursors to the event were developed under his leadership.

        • insider 10.1.2.1

          Apologies – Gordon Ward I should have said. Cairns was with Origin. Ward is now COO at Queensland Coal Corporation

  11. fabregas4 11

    All this happened with the back drop of mining conservation land. That is a big part of why Whittle was made a hero rather than a villain. Rape the land, AND kill the workers.

  12. fabregas4 12

    Of course what the right will tell you is that the workers should have discussed the problems and negotiated remedies with their employers – Insert Tui Ad here. In a similar way that the workers in the CTV Building did with their bosses. Very sad.

  13. Blue 13

    This article is worth re-posting:

    http://www.theaustralian.com.au/news/features/miners-doomed-by-fatal-flaws/story-e6frg6z6-1226082325549

    Tells all about the disgraceful NZ media, and the disgraceful NZ mine safety standards.

    • tc 13.1

      Not so much disgraceful but sold out and aligned with corporate interests…. not media, just mediums of delivering the masters message.
      TVNZ/Media works/fairfaz/APN…shows the strength of OZ’s firecely outspoken media that the australian’s a murdoch paper.

  14. prism 14

    This morning some Brit I think David Cameron made ringing assertions about how governments act to ensure their citizens interests and safety. This was something in relation to Libya.

    But this sounds so pseudo when we look at what governments actually do and don’t do for their citizens, particularly right wing governments who, as in NZ, have decimated the controls and quality of provision of safety standards. Pike River – self regulating failure. Cool stores – self regulating failure, and the possibility of yet another large fire which may kill fire fighters as did the one of recent years because of the laxity of this pathetically weak system of company self-regulation. It is based on self-promoting hubris about how good and responsible companies are.

    And the Pike River investigation again awakes my concern at the way that authorities act when taking control of a bad event. The police being in total charge of a mine accident makes no sense particularly when they were constantly saying they couldn’t do anything – it wasn’t safe. Why wasn’t there a mine search and rescue team who could make assessments in conjunction with a number of experienced Pike River miners acting as observers and advisers? When people are lost at sea or in the bush, the searchers don’t just say they have to wait for perfect conditions, they assess conditions and look for opportunities when they can make their move.
    And they accept that there are risks that go with the job which they plan to minimise.

    • grumpy 14.1

      You make a good point. the Mine SAR team are very experienced and wanted to go in straight away but were stopped by police.

      Seems our police have succumbed to the British disease.

      • Colonial Viper 14.1.1

        They probably wanted a week long health and safety audit and risk assessment done before letting rescuers in.

    • HC 14.2

      Does David Cameron’s hypocritical talk about having the situation investigated, where the British secret services and Libyan secret services co-operated for so many years, sound a bit absurd and silly. This is exactly the bullcrap they always come up with. They pretend they did know nothing about it, they are all in favour of human rights, high standards, the rule of law, protection and dignity, and hence it must be somebody else’s fault.

      So it was the previous government’s fault, some senior or not so senior administrator’s fault, maybe a well-meant system for inexplainable reasons getting “out of control”, those are the stories we get told afterwards.

      It brings to mind Nicky Hager and his new book again. So where did we leave off again with that? Apart from some dodgy explanations and attacks on the messenger, a few very ambiguous media comments and reports, there is NO MORE to be heard about what the SAS, NZ army and supposed aid personnel were actually up to in Afghanistan and Iraq! Quietly people get distracted with news about the tragic death of a big time and eventually failed South Island investor, the Rugby World Cup and what else may be happening. And thus all of deserved attention is swept under the every larger and bulgy carpet.

      Who still has faith in this system and establishment?

      • Colonial Viper 14.2.1

        the Rugby World Cup and what else may be happening. And thus all of deserved attention is swept under the every larger and bulgy carpet.

        Who still has faith in this system and establishment?

        The RWC itself is the dodgiest money losing piece of shit ever. Take out the hundreds of millions in tax payers and ratepayers subsidies and the bloody thing would sink to the bottom of the ocean in minutes.

        An utter commercial failure which cannot stand on its own two feet in any way shape or form. I cannot go a day without hearing small hospitality business owners pissed off about all the restrictions which have been placed on them to give the big time corporate sponsors an easy ride.

        The RWC was supposed to be a business opportunity for NZ, instead its an opportunity for big multinational corporate hotel chains and liquor companies. Fuck NZ small business if you happen to be outside of an elite inner circle.

        As to your larger point – the transnational regimes out there have been designed to disempower the sovereignty of nations trying to look after their own citizens.

  15. randal 15

    west coast coal is some of the best in the world but the conditions are the toughest. National and its acolytes have taken the self regulating mantra to the extreme in the coal industry. i.e. there were no regulations and whats more the company didnt think it had to comply with anything except its own wishes. Industry in New Zealand is becoming more and more like the madhatters tea party everyday here they just seem to make it up as they go along.

  16. Afewknowthetruth 16

    The alternative to digging underground is to use the modern American approach: blow up the entire mountain, push all the rubble into the nearest river valley using heavy machinery and then excavate the coal with heavy machinery, as is being done in Virginia etc.

    If global corporations get their way that is EXACTLY what we will see in NZ once energy desperation reaches a critical level.

    The alternative to converting much of the Earth into a moonscape is to close down industrial civilisation and start living within ecological limits. That is quite unthinkable to the majority of people at this stage.

    • Rich 16.1

      In 1974, NZ generated 80% of its electricity from renewables. We have enough identified renewables to get over 100%*, we just need to build them.

      The price of fossil fuels doesn’t reflect future availability. If you owned a big heap of coal, it would be a great investment. But NZs coal doesn’t need digging out and storing in a heap. It’ll stay there happily underground while its value increases.

      We should be doing just that – leaving the coal underground so it can be used in the future as an irreplacable feedstock for material production.

      * e.g. meet today’s electricity usage from renewables and start replacing direct consumption of fossil fuels.

    • Jenny 16.2

      Kia ora Afktt,

      I have provided you with several links that show that we don’t need to close down industrial civilisation to start living within ecological limits, you have never deigned to critique them one way or the other.

      Why?

  17. Pascal's bookie 17

    Kevin Hague has been tweeting updates from today:

    https://twitter.com/#!/KevinHague

  18. The Gormless Fool formerly known as Oleolebiscuitbarrell 18

    A miner crawls out of a mine explosion, gets to an emergency station and finds it’s empty. It was decommissioned but the workers were never told.

    Except that RNZ is reporting that the evidence given today is that they were told.

    This is why it is usually regarded as prudent to wait to hear all the evidence before making conclusions based on it.

    Funny how the left insists on natural justice and due process… right up until the point where it does not suit their ends.

    • McFlock 18.1

      Actually, if they were told then they weren’t trained enough in safety – the fact is that in an emergency a worker went there expecting supplies, and there were none. So either they weren’t told, or not enough care was taken to ensure that everyone was told, or the information systems in place were insufficient at ensuring that everyone knew and recalled what they needed to know when they needed to know it – and if the systems were reasonable and they still couldn’t recall it, they shouldn’t have been in the area.
         
      A “safety culture” isn’t just a note, it’s a culture of attention.
      In one workplace I was in, everyone had to sign each page in the situation folder to demonstrate that they read it – the fact the folder ran to dozens of pages of email waffle, with scrawls all over it, made it useless as a disciplinary tool, and (less importantly, it seemed, from the boss’ perspective) pointless in an emergency. But every time there was an incident and there was a delay or the wrong procedure was followed, management would bawl out the staff on duty on the grounds that they “had been told”. So frontline staff would periodically find a better job and go somewhere else, taking their institutional memory with them (all the more valuable because the formal systems were shit) – none of this getting to higher management because the explanation was “oh it’s shift work, that’s why we have high turnover”.    

      In another job, everything was about training and ongoing certification. That place ran more efficiently, and had lower staff turnover.

    • IrishBill 18.2

      I’d suggest that the company didn’t do a very good job of telling or Rockhouse would have known he was heading for a decommissioned station.

      • The Gormless Fool formerly known as Oleolebiscuitbarrell 18.2.1

        Once again, maybe we should wait until we have heard all of the evidence before we decide what happened.

        Or it that just crazy?

        • Pascal's bookie 18.2.1.1

          Not crazy at all. All opinions are open to revision, but that doesn’t mean we can’t talk about what looks like what does it.

          Though I’m sure you were equally keen to be telling people to hold off on forming opinions when uncle tom cobley and all were fawning over Whitall, so fair’s fair.

        • IrishBill 18.2.1.2

          I’ve got a pretty good idea of what happened.

          • The Gormless Fool formerly known as Oleolebiscuitbarrell 18.2.1.2.1

            Fuck, no need for an enquiry, then. Just ask IB.

            • RedLogix 18.2.1.2.1.1

              Not that cranial-rectal impaction syndrome ever seemed to keep Ole from leaping to conclusions.

            • felix 18.2.1.2.1.2

              Hey Ole. If we’re not allowed to talk about this, just say so and we’ll all stop. Promise.

              • The Gormless Fool formerly known as Oleolebiscuitbarrell

                Way you go, Felix. You are so damned clever and I am a gormless fool. You tell me why I am wrong and the best thing to do is to determine the outcome before all the evidence has been heard.

                This will save the country a fortune. No need for all that costly due process. Next time there is any dispute over a factual matter, all we will need to do is ask a grumpy old left wing authoritarian.

                • McFlock

                  god I love how RWNJs are all about “due process” when it’s management in the firing line, not workers.

                  • The Gormless Fool formerly known as Oleolebiscuitbarrell

                    Well, that’s going to get a bit circular, McFlock. Unless you have consistently maintained that due process is a bunch of arse for everyone.

                    Have you?

                    • McFlock

                      Nope – it could get hypocritical, but not circular, unless I were a RWNJ.
                        
                      Basically, I am a fan of due process, which is why I’m not saying things like “Whittall should get 20 years” or whatever. 
                          
                      But due process does not negate the possibility of a personal opinion, nor does it mean that we all have to pretend to be morons when the writing is on the wall in fecking great neon signs. When that guy pled provocation as a defense for stabbing his ex 200 times, did you wait for the verdict before largely coming to the opinion that he was full of shit? 

                        
                      The two small pieces of testimony do illustrate a major issue: one party claims everyone was told about a change in safety precautions, yet in an emergency a worker operated under the assumption that there had been no change.

                      Therefore, assuming both are being truthful to the best of their knowledge, there was a problem with the communication or training systems in operation. What is so difficult about that?     
                        

    • Pascal's bookie 18.3

      Except that RNZ is reporting that the evidence given today is that they were told

      Missed that. I heard RNZ report that Doug White’s testimony conflicted with that of Rockhouse in that he claimed workers had been told. Did they say he had evidence to back that up?

      If not then I’d tend to believe Rockhouse, given that he also claims to have gone to the emergency station. Why would he claim to have done that if he didn’t do it, and why would he do it if he had been made aware it was decommissioned? So Rockhouse’s claim to have been unaware that the station was decommissioned is consistent, and I can think of no motive for him to lie.

      • The Voice of Reason 18.3.1

        When I heard about the empty rescue station, a scene from the book Catch 22 popped into my head. The hero, air force bombardier Yossarian, discovers to his horror that his parachute has been taken without notice by ACToid whealer dealer Milo Minderbinder who is trying to anchor a business deal with a truckload of silk. In exchange, the parachutes have been replaced by a single share in a nebulous company called M&M Enterprises, which clearly only exists to enrich Minderbinder and his cronies.
         
        The film’s pretty good, imho, though it got mixed reviews when it came out. Here’s the parachute scene.
         
         
         

      • The Gormless Fool formerly known as Oleolebiscuitbarrell 18.3.2

        Testimony is evidence. The evidence was his testimony.

        • Pascal's bookie 18.3.2.1

          Pfft. You were implying that there was evidence that somehow refuted Rockhouse. Which is nonsense. there was conflicting testimony is all.

          Why should we believe White over Rockhouse? I’ve said why I find Rockhouse to be credible.

          • The Gormless Fool formerly known as Oleolebiscuitbarrell 18.3.2.1.1

            I didn’t imply. I stated that there was evidence. There was. It was in the form of testimony. The same form, incidentally as the evidence saying that the workers were never told.

            My exact point is that I cannot, form this distance, tell whose evidence should be preferred. You might be right. I just do not think you are in any position to tell.

            • Pascal's bookie 18.3.2.1.1.1

              lol. Your whole point about ‘prudence’ implies that Rockhouse claim was refuted. If you weren’t implying that, then it what way was it imprudent?

              Do people look foolish now, after White has claimed he did too tell workers about the station? That would only be the case if you accept White’s version of events.

              Rockhouse’s claim is consistent with the rest of his testimony. As I stated here:

              If not then I’d tend to believe Rockhouse, given that he also claims to have gone to the emergency station. Why would he claim to have done that if he didn’t do it, and why would he do it if he had been made aware it was decommissioned? So Rockhouse’s claim to have been unaware that the station was decommissioned is consistent, and I can think of no motive for him to lie.

              You seem desperate to appear not to have formed a provisional opinion given the evidence presented so far, I’ll grant you that. But you also seem to have accepted that White’s version is correct. Funny that.

              • vto

                What I funny p’s b is how many people are desperate to support their corporate overlords and political persuasions and are scratching to find anything at all which sheets responsibility home to anywhere other than where it is currently pointing. Namely, many people seem desperate to paint it as an “accident”.

                Pike River was no “accident”. It was the result of severe negligence on various fronts – governmental and ownership in the main part.

                It seems the only thing these apologists can hang their hats on is a weak cry of “wait until the enquiry is finished!”. Pathetic.

                • Pascal's bookie

                  Exactly.

                  In case you aren’t, check out what hague is tweeing:

                  https://twitter.com/#!/KevinHague

                  Whittall: in an emergency #Pike miners to go to fresh air base, not try to use ladder. White: there was no proper fresh air base

                  ————————–

                  #Pike Mine Manager says he “hadn’t seen” Corporate Safety Manual”. Manual says shd have been evac drills every 6 mnths. None occurred

                  ——————————

                  More and more evidence of “where practicable” led to much lower safety than Australia. Need IMMEDIATE upgrade of regs #Pike

                  And apparently the number of journos at the hearing has dropped to single figures on account of RWC needing more coverage. Awesome.

              • The Gormless Fool formerly known as Oleolebiscuitbarrell

                Course I have accepted White’s testimony over that of Rockhouse . Oh…maybe you could just point out where I did that. Ta.

  19. The Gormless Fool formerly known as Oleolebiscuitbarrell 19

    @VoR.

    Which merely indicates that the evidence is conflicting (which it clearly is). My very point is that fuckwits on a blog are in no position to assess the evidence. It would rather undermine that point if I preferred one person’s testimony over another’s, wouldn’t it, now?

    • Pascal's bookie 19.1

      Here’s what you said:

      Except that RNZ is reporting that the evidence given today is that they were told.

      This is why it is usually regarded as prudent to wait to hear all the evidence before making conclusions based on it.

      The italicised bits imply that Rockhouse was refuted by some evidence, otherwise why the snark about ‘prudence’? As I said in my comment at 10.23.

      That is what makes it seem like you have accepted White’s testimony over that of Rockhouse.

      • The Gormless Fool formerly known as Oleolebiscuitbarrell 19.1.1

        1. Testimony is evidence. I am not sure why you think it is not, especially when you accept it from one deponent and not another.

        2. There is nothing in the italicised parts or elsewhere which indicates that I have preferred anyone’s evidence over anyone else’s. My very point was you cannot judge.

        • Pascal's bookie 19.1.1.1

          1) It’s a very weak form of evidence. It’s just a claim. I’ve explained why I think Rockhouse’s testimony is more credible.

          2) You claim that it is imprudent to accept Rockhouse’s version. That implies that his version has been discredited. Otherwise, where is the imprudence?

          But sure, no one can form an opinion, or discuss the matter, based on the evidence presented, we should just wait for the government to tell us what to think. Understood.

          • The Gormless Fool formerly known as Oleolebiscuitbarrell 19.1.1.1.1

            Well, not the government, the Commissioner who hears all of the evidence and gets to see all of the witnesses.

            • Pascal's bookie 19.1.1.1.1.1

              Righto.

              Bit of an outrage that it’s a public hearing actually innit.

              People might form opinions.

              Start discusssing things even.

              For shame.

              Should be done in secret, and then when the duly authorised authorities have determined what’s what they can tell the media what what we all should think.

              Much better.

              • The Gormless Fool formerly known as Oleolebiscuitbarrell

                ’cause that’s what I am arguing for, obviously.

                • Pascal's bookie

                  Certainly seems to be, yep.

                  But that’s only based on what you’ve written. I’ll go out on a limb and just base my opinion on that. Until, y’know, the authorities weigh in and set me straight.

                  But you’ve not offered any evidence that that’s not what you were saying.

                  You could explain why it was imprudent to think Rockhouse’s testimony was credible. That would be a good start, and it’s not like you’ve not been given enough clues that that’s the sort of thing I’m looking for.

                  Instead, I’m left thinking that you really do think it’s best to somehow hold your mind in some sort of quantum state, with no opinion about the credibility of the conflicting testimonies either way. Till the authorities weigh in with what you are supposed to think.

                  But like I said, that’s just based on what you’ve said.

    • The Voice of Reason 19.2

      Fair enough point as far as it goes and I’d hate to descend into pedantry. But I actually do think bloggers and the wider public can start to make assessments of the evidence, most of which is pretty damning of the company. After all, we were asked at the time of the disaster to make an assessment of Peter Whittall’s saintliness based on no evidence whatsoever. 
       
      There is a lot more to come out in this enquiry and none of it is going to be pleasant for the management.  But for me, the evidence from an actual worker who was in the mine at the time has more weight than a company exec trying to cover his arse.
       
      And now that we have that senior management person confirming that safety was not a priority and that the company made decisions to downgrade safety against his professional advice, then I think the public is indeed in a good position  to start making assessments.
       
      I now think we are going to see criminal charges laid against the senior management, possibly up to the level of manslaughter. And that opinion is based on White’s testimony as well as Rockhouse’s. White now seems to be saying that he made recommendations to improve safety, but that his concerns were ignored. In other words, the classic kids’ excuse; I broke the window, but a bigger boy made me!

    • McFlock 19.3

      Testimony in this particular area:

      1) workers were “told” that the emergency station had been decommissioned
      2) in an emergency, a worker went to an emergency support area for emergency supplies and did not expect it to be decommissioned.
        
      Possible explanations:

      A) workers were not told (conflict), or not all workers were told (communication issue)
        
      B) workers were not told effectively (e.g. information overload – not a conflict, a communication issue, common in many workplaces)
          
      C) workers were told, but training methods could not overwrite the change in infrastructure, i.e. in an emergency the reflex was still to go to old station X rather than new station Y (conflict – does not explain why the worker still thinks they weren’t told, also a training issue)
         
      D) it’s all an easily disprovable lie by evil but incompetent unionists (conflict, but of course they’d have training and briefing logs, right?)

              
               
      If there isn’t a conflict, it’s a communication or training issue that is the responsibility of management. No wonder you’d rather argue that in an emergency situation a worker tried to use a decommissioned emergency station just for shits and giggles. Bit of a laugh before walking out, eh?

       

      • The Gormless Fool formerly known as Oleolebiscuitbarrell 19.3.1

        I am not sure how this has become unclear. I am saying I do not know what happened because all of the evidence is not in. And I seem to be the only one on this thread not claiming to be absolutely clear on what happened and who is responsible.

        I am absolutely not saying that the company is in the clear or its evidence should be preferred.

        Remind me why it is so outrageous and unreasonable to wait for the evidence before forming an opinion.

        • vto 19.3.1.1

          “And I seem to be the only one on this thread not claiming to be absolutely clear on what happened and who is responsible.”

          Possibly.

          What happened and who is responsible has been quite clear to people familiar with the industry and the Pike River mine and company right from the start.

          You can bow down before your masters and quibble all you like about hearing all the evidence first etc blah de blah but many people don’t give a shit about that. 29 men were killed and people know why. And further, all those first-up claims about what happened and who is responsible have been shown more and more with each passing day to have been …

          right

          on

          the

          money.

  20. The Voice of Reason 20

    Here is the union talking about Pike River on Breakfast this morning:
     
    http://tvnz.co.nz/national-news/pike-river-inquest-revealing-unfolding-shambles-4389895
     
    Shambles really does seem to be the right word. It really saddens me that as just a temporary visitor to the neighbouring Spring Creek mine, I had a better safety induction than the actual workers employed at Pike River were given. Its just plain wrong.

    • Colonial Viper 20.1

      And the fucking useless right wingers were saying that the money grubbing corporations wouldn’t take short cuts in a $300M mine.

      But of course they did because beancounters don’t know intuitive shit about risks vs consequences.

  21. Jenny 21

    Let’s be blunt – it is time to end the coal industry. It is important that we properly acknowledge the deaths of the 29 men at Pike River, but in the end there is a bigger question to be decided than mine safety.

    Nandor Tanczos

    From TV3 report, “The Hard Coaled Facts”

    http://www.3news.co.nz/Pike-River—the-hard-coaled-facts/tabid/1341/articleID/188481/Default.aspx

  22. Jenny 22

    Coal Kills:

    Coal Kills people

    Coal Kills planets

    Coal kills

    Ban it.

    • Colonial Viper 22.1

      You’re better off taking 200,000 cars off NZ roads per year. Everything you said about coal. Applies 10x to cars in NZ.

      Although I agree we would actually benefit (a hell of a lot) from a 10 year moratorium on coal mining activities.

      • Jenny 22.1.1

        You’re better off taking 200,000 cars off NZ roads per year. Everything you said about coal. Applies 10x to cars in NZ.

        Colonial Viper

        CV I thought I had addressed this question in my earlier comment in this thread here.

        However to answer your question at a deeper level.

        The situation with coal is very different for Europe the US and China, if not the number one polluter, is a very major one, due mainly to it’s primary roll in these countries, particularly China, in electricity generation.

        The fact is that as many of the nay sayers in this country are happy to point out, if New Zealand cut it’s CO2 emissions to zero it would make very little difference to the global levels of CO2 output.

        NewCoal Free New Zealand would be an iconic policy statement, and unlike the Nuclear Free policy which David Lange told us, is not for export, the NewCoal Free policy, would very definitely be aimed at the export market.

        • Colonial Viper 22.1.1.1

          A ban on new coal will not change NZs high GHG emissions per capita so I don’t know how effective it will be from a PR perspective. Further, coal will be a cornerstone of our electrical production for another decade or two yet.

          And unlike Nuclear Weapons Free, many countries will simply not be able to follow our stance because of their energy requirements.

          IMO if you wanted to make a statment to the world about conservation, GHG reduction and peak oil, a No New Cars policy would be far superior.

          • Jenny 22.1.1.1.1

            IMO if you wanted to make a statment to the world about conservation, GHG reduction and peak oil, a No New Cars policy would be far superior.

            Colonial Viper

            I think you are really stretching here CV.

            Most cars bought and sold in New Zealand are second hand.

            Second hand cars are even imported into the country. (NZ being one of few countries to do this.)

            Without providing an alternative, stopping new car sales would see people keeping their existing cars longer, adding emissions and pollution from worn out vehicles.

            If private cars were used for private trips, driving holidays, a day at the beach, there would hardly be a problem, the real problem is when they are used every day of the week as a public transit system.

            Nice try though.

            • Colonial Viper 22.1.1.1.1.1

              Ahem. Using well maintained second hand cars is a good thing.

              In general though, when I said halt new car sales, I probably meant stop the sale of all cars which have never previously been registered before (stopping second hand imports too).

              Without providing an alternative, stopping new car sales would see people keeping their existing cars longer, adding emissions and pollution from worn out vehicles.

              You clearly didn’t account for the 1.5-3.0T of GHGs produced during the manufacture of the steel, electronics and plastic parts of each new car.

              Without providing an alternative, stopping new car sales would see people keeping their existing cars longer, adding emissions and pollution from worn out vehicles.

              Large scale public transport alternatives should indeed be provided. (I never said that it should not).

              • Jenny

                The main problem with your solution is that it is proscriptive against the the average citizen.

                Rather than those with an interest in maintaining BAU, the roading lobbyists and the fossil fuel industry.

                Free and frequent public transport saw the people of Hasselhelt willingly abandon their cars in mass. Much to the chagrin of the above vested interest lobbyists.

                Redirecting the $billions earmarked for motorways into free and frequent bus services in New Zealand would deliver a income boost of between $50 to $60 dollars a week to the average worker. Whereas more motorways see more car use, more congestion, more pollution more costs for commuters and more profit for the same vested interest.

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