Pike River Report and Wilkinson resigns

November 5th, 2012 at 4:04 pm by David Farrar

Just heard that has resigned as Minister of Labour as the “right and honourable thing to do” as it happened on her watch. Indeed an honourable call.

The report is here, NBR has a good summary:

  • Setting up a new crown agency solely focused on health and safety. It would have an executive board accountable to a minister. It would be responsible for administering health and safety in line with strategies agreed with the responsible minister and should provide policy advice to the minister.
  • Setting up an effective regulatory framework for underground coal mining. This would include establishing an expert task force to carry out the work. Its members would include health and safety experts and industry, regulator and worker health and safety representatives, supported by specialist technical experts.
  • A change in the crown minerals regime to ensure health and safety is an integral part of permit allocation and monitoring.
  • A review of the statutory responsibilities of directors for health and safety in the workplace to better reflect their governance responsibilities.
  • The health and safety regulator should issue an approved code of practice to guide directors on how good governance practices can be used to manage health and safety risks.
  • The health and safety regulator should issue an approved code of practice to guide managers on health and safety risks, drawing on both their legal responsibilities and best practice.
  • An extension of the current regulations imposing general health and safety duties on the statutory mine manager to include detailed responsibilities for overseeing critical features of the company’s health and safety management systems.
  • Worker participation in health and safety in underground coal mines should be improved through legislative and administrative changes.
  • The regulator should supervise the granting of mining qualifications to mining managers and workers.
  • Urgent attention needs to go on emergency management in underground coal mines. Operators should be required to have a current and comprehensive emergency management plan which is audited and tested regularly.
  • An urgent review of the implementation of the coordinated incident management system in underground coal mine emergencies.
  • Legislative support for the activities of the New Zealand Mines Rescue Service. The adequacy and fairness of the current levies imposed on the mines to fund the services also need to be reviewed.
  • Operators of underground coal mines should be required to have modern equipment and facilities. This includes facilities suitable for self-rescue by workers during an emergency.

The Government has indicated it intends to implement at least most, if not all, of the recommendations but a formal response will take some time.

The explosion was deemed preventable, and we must make sure such a terrible accident does not occur again.

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64 Responses to “Pike River Report and Wilkinson resigns”

  1. iMP (2,154 comments) says:

    Reminds me of Denis Marshall and the DOC platform collapse and Don Mckinnon over US ships & Defence. We only really see Nats resigning with honour. Lab Mps either go to prison or the UN rather than resign.

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  2. sthn.jeff (100 comments) says:

    It is a pity the Royal Commission did not have the ability to look into the granting of the resource consent and the processes surrounding that

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  3. Fairfacts Media (370 comments) says:

    Well Kate Wilkinson is Conservation Minister too.

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  4. BeaB (1,958 comments) says:

    Why doesn’t Nevil Rockhouse accept some responsibility? He was the safety officer after all and the mine claimed the life of one son and almost the other. Is that why he has escaped all culpability?
    It makes you think check officers would be of little use except to throw round union muscle.
    I hate the blame game but many Kiwis love it and he seems an obvious place to start.
    Good for Kate. She whipped Clayton Cosgrove. Once again she can hold her head high.

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  5. PaulL (5,776 comments) says:

    Good on her for resigning, but seems to me that most of this debacle was set in stone long before she was Minister? Sure, she was there when it happened, but seems a bit of a long bow.

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  6. Redbaiter (6,481 comments) says:

    The managers of Pike River almost completely ignored safety regulations and nobody stopped them from doing so.

    Its not new regulations that are needed, its just that the ones already in place need to be enforced.

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  7. Alan Johnstone (915 comments) says:

    A resignation where she keeps her wages, warrant and all the perks? Frankly it’s distasteful; if you feel you have err’d then resign properly.

    If she felt she did nothing wrong (I have no idea, not read the report) then she should have stayed.

    This consequence free self immolation is pointless and insulting

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  8. Pete George (21,826 comments) says:

    Whale has posted:

    Now I hear that she had to be talked out of resigning from parliament to preserve the one seat majority.

    http://www.whaleoil.co.nz/2012/11/comrade-kate-falls-on-her-sword/

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  9. Tautaioleua (266 comments) says:

    So when will Paula Bennett tender her resignation?

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  10. A Voice Today (4 comments) says:

    Wilkinson standing down has taken one of the oppositions main attack lines of “do you have confidence in the minister…will you stand them down..”

    it also means that news about Kate’s resignation will last one, maybe two, news cycles and then we will be on to the next story….rather than it being a continual story for days/weeks on end.

    Also, it was the honorable thing to do and most will see it as honorable…though some may try and claim it is a “stunt”

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  11. Thrash Cardiom (298 comments) says:

    A resignation where she keeps her wages, warrant and all the perks? Frankly it’s distasteful; if you feel you have err’d then resign properly.

    Fell on her paper sword, I see.

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  12. Viking2 (10,734 comments) says:

    Pike was not her fault nor her responsibility. Yep I’m defending that bit. Who ran the Dept of Labour for the previous 9 years?
    Some liarbor goon. Yep

    Never the less Wilkinson would be better in a knitting club. Hopeless at driving the necessary reforms required in the Labour market.
    Let’s have some anti union tough guy on the job. OOp’s the Nat’s don’t seem to have anyone like that.

    John, John, call Rodney NOW.
    :lol:

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  13. ross69 (3,645 comments) says:

    > it happened on her watch

    Actually it happened 2 years ago. She obviously wanted to keep the perks of the job for as long as she could…someone with a little more class would have resigned sooner.

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  14. ross69 (3,645 comments) says:

    > Reminds me of Denis Marshall and the DOC platform collapse

    It took Marshall more than year to resign…what is it with Tories that they feel they must collect their perks in the face of such awful tragedies?

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  15. AJP (13 comments) says:

    The minister is gone! Good.
    Now we are waiting for the Head of the EPMU to go as well as he did not do his job to keep his workers save.
    Ross69, do you agree?

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  16. ross69 (3,645 comments) says:

    Why did the Minister wait an eternity before she resigned? Did she really need 2 years to understand what she should do?

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  17. Reid (15,593 comments) says:

    Idiot Helen Kelly just advocated a specialist agency for mining health and safety on Checkpoint. And she ended by whining about how people should listen more to unions because they had a weal wole to pway. I mean what can you say. Except der.

    Why did the Minister wait an eternity before she resigned? Did she really need 2 years to understand what she should do?

    Yes ross. The report governed the timing, when the report was ready, that was the time, it was always to be the time, it never was going to be any other time, at all.

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  18. BeaB (1,958 comments) says:

    Chris Carter gave the go ahead to the special dispensations to allow the mine to go ahead. Who was Helen Clarks minister of Labour? Any squeaks from them?

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  19. PaulL (5,776 comments) says:

    ross: the normal process is to see the enquiry through, then to resign. As for Cave Creek.

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  20. liarbors a joke (1,069 comments) says:

    Will Bernie Monk ever remove himself from the tv screen ?

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  21. Pauleastbay (5,030 comments) says:

    I’m sorry, honour and politician do not belong in the same article, no matter what party they belong to.

    Just politics, sad sad politics.

    When will someone have the guts to tell Bernie Monk to fuck off and to stop politicizing the deaths?
    When will soemone ask Bernie Monk how long he has been a unionist?
    and how lucky was it for him that one of the dead was some sort of relation.

    A tragedy it was, but we have ACC and insurance and now recommendations to try and ensure this does not re-occurr so there is very little else to do in reality – but vested interests will just keep on regurgitating the same old sound bites, ho hum trying for the “settlement”
    ,

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  22. mikenmild (8,890 comments) says:

    Yes, Denis Marshall inaugurated a new twist to the NZ conventions for ministerial responsibility – resign but in a manner that takes no responsibility. Resignation from a portfolio is not a sanction at all. It would be better if the NZ were a simpler one: Ministers do not resign over matters of vicarious responsibility, but only when convicted of a criminal offence or when the Prime Minister feels able to dispense with their services.

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  23. UpandComer (496 comments) says:

    Ross the idiot. It seems kind of logical to wait for the findings for the report – then to take action accordingly, which she has done, swiftly.

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  24. liarbors a joke (1,069 comments) says:

    yes ross…liarbor good..national bad. Dickhead.

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  25. PBJ83 (26 comments) says:

    Well, right-wingers, got news: The market will not regulate itself. Opportunity here to follow this line of reasoning.

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  26. Reid (15,593 comments) says:

    mm it is symbolic this is true but sometimes symbolism counts and personally I think it did with Marshall and it does here again.

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  27. David Garrett (5,150 comments) says:

    Wilkinson was never “officer material” I had a couple of dealings with her on labour law changes, and she was astoundingly uninformed…she seemed a very poor fit for the Labour portfolio…and she always let Cosgrove get to her in the House…the sawn off little man with a pine forest on his head never worried anyone else…

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  28. mikenmild (8,890 comments) says:

    Sure reid, and the symbolic effect lessens as it weakens over the decades.
    David, as I’m sure you are only too well aware, it is only personal wrong doings that carry any individual sanction any more, and even then some individuals will get away with those if it is expedient for the particular PM (see Helen Clark/Philip Field or John Key/John Banks). I’m sure you are also aware that Minsters ranked below 7 or 8 are nearly always expendable. Most governments are by an inner coterie of 4 or 5. I think I read somewhere that effective decision making becomes impossible once there is more that 9 or 10 in a group.

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  29. macdee (23 comments) says:

    BeaB 4.21pm

    good question, surely the mine safety officer has some culpability

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  30. Johnboy (13,424 comments) says:

    Yes David. She always struck me as someone who would rather be somewhere else. Like a possum in a spotlight.
    I’m sure she meant well and it was just bad luck that she got stuck with the Labour Dept. job but shit happens!

    At least she has done the decent thing, good luck to her. :)

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  31. toad (3,654 comments) says:

    DPF:

    Just heard that Kate Wilkinson has resigned as Minister of Labour as the “right and honourable thing to do” as it happened on her watch. Indeed an honourable call.

    And wouldn’t Paula Bennett resigning over MSD privacy breaches, John Banks resigning over lying to all of New Zealand, and John Key resigning over GCSB illegal spying also be the honourable thing for responsible Ministers to do?

    Oh, and BTW, Wilkinson keeps her Ministerial salary because she still holds the portfolios of Conservation and Food Safety. So hers is really a Claytons resignation.

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  32. toad (3,654 comments) says:

    @David Garrett 7:26 pm

    Wilkinson was never “officer material” I had a couple of dealings with her on labour law changes, and she was astoundingly uninformed…she seemed a very poor fit for the Labour portfolio…and she always let Cosgrove get to her in the House…the sawn off little man with a pine forest on his head never worried anyone else…

    You really are a nasty little piece of shit, David. I have no time for either Cosgrove or Wilkinson, but that is just plain ad hom nasty so cop some of the same from me.

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  33. Johnboy (13,424 comments) says:

    Chaps with a hairdo like Clayton’s should resign as well toadie. It’s an affront to the ecosystem! :)

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  34. Kevin (1,122 comments) says:

    FFS it wasn’t her fault. How many highly paid bureaucrats who didn’t do their job will be resigning?

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  35. Griff (6,263 comments) says:

    Hows the suing business going toady still going to sue the community on KB for pointing out what a bunch of dishonest wankers the greens are?

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  36. Reid (15,593 comments) says:

    that is just plain ad hom nasty

    No it’s not at all toad. I don’t why you in particular get concerned about descriptions like that. That’s all they were. I mean everyone knows Cosgrove is both nasty and thick, or didn’t you know that yourself?

    Frankly I think this was a micro-issue a Minister was not responsible for, if anyone is responsible it was the Minister who put it in place and that was a National govt but Liarbore did nothing about it, at all, ever. Did they. And the unions are claiming they were complaining non-stop about this specific issue. Well how come Liarbore the friend of the unions did nothing when they easily could have, in the miraculous good times of yore, if this was the case?

    But whenever mass fatalities occur, this is required. Always. No matter what. But beyond that, who cares? Clearly it won’t happen again, clearly at great expense the industry will strive to outdo Australian standards, that’s a given, it’s probably happening already.

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  37. Johnboy (13,424 comments) says:

    It will happen again Reid. Life’s a circle. It probably won’t happen again for a little while that’s all.

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  38. Chuck Bird (4,415 comments) says:

    “You really are a nasty little piece of shit, David. ”

    Maybe so, but he has the guts to use his real name what is yours reptile?

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  39. Johnboy (13,424 comments) says:

    Toad’s slunk off to his cesspit to lick his arse with his very long tongue. :)

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  40. Griff (6,263 comments) says:

    eeeewww JB toady arse licking how disgusting. I don’t think he likes to be trolled he never replies :twisted:

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  41. Reid (15,593 comments) says:

    It probably won’t happen again for a little while that’s all.

    I just wish it’d happen now and again to the people responsible for the whole thing Johnboy. How come that hardly ever seems to happen?

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  42. Johnboy (13,424 comments) says:

    None of our leaders lead from the front anymore Reid.

    Funny that! :)

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  43. mikenmild (8,890 comments) says:

    The doctrine of individual ministerial responsibility has merged seamlessly into the more distant prospect of holding a government to account by three-yearly voting preferences. Whether a Minister resigns for anything other than the most blatant abuse of public office for personal gain is governed entirely by the political calculations performed by the prime minister.
    Kate Wilkinson is clearly no good as a minister; that was apparent within weeks of her appointment. She remains a minister because since 1995 one thing the department of conservation does is check public safety on its property. That she is a political irrelevance is underscored by her sole remaining use – relieving Mr Key of the chore of promoting someone else to a ministerial vacancy.

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  44. ross69 (3,645 comments) says:

    > It seems kind of logical to wait for the findings for the report – then to take action accordingly

    Oh I see. So we only realise a mistake has been made by establishing a Commission of Inquiry? Surely you’re not that thick…

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  45. Tom Jackson (2,261 comments) says:

    Idiot Helen Kelly just advocated a specialist agency for mining health and safety on Checkpoint.

    What’s idiotic about that? There might be reasons not to go with that, but it’s not a completely absurd suggestion given recent events.

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  46. bhudson (4,720 comments) says:

    Oh I see. So we only realise a mistake has been made by establishing a Commission of Inquiry? Surely you’re not that thick

    Ah ross69, so that would be why Darren Hughes stood down the moment he found out he was being investigated by the Police? Oh, hang on…

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  47. Zapper (845 comments) says:

    Oh that’s right. Toad threatened to sue me for pointing out that members of the Greens committed criminal acts during the election :) But decided not to because he’s “not vindictive” (or maybe because it is true).

    Well toad, you’ve proven with your attack on DG the quality of you and your so-called environmental (watermelon) party. You are pathetic. Sue me for that if you like, but I’m sure it can be proven.

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  48. Zapper (845 comments) says:

    come on bhudson, that’s different. Labour can do what they want. Means to an end. They are scum.

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  49. Nostalgia-NZ (4,697 comments) says:

    I wonder if the report expressed that the safety in the mine fell with the liquidity of the business, market prices and other adverse factors. In a stronger economic situation safety would not have been compromised by firstly the company and secondly by acceptance by the miners of the compromises. There is probably a point here about the relationship between high human risk ventures and failing capital. An audit of the books and cash reserves, or a safety financial monitor warning system, would have told a lot about conditions in the mine as the explosion leaked messages of itself that were ignored.
    I’d like to know what the report said about men continuing to go into the mine when safety wasn’t up to scratch and why the management ‘let’ them.

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  50. Jimmy Smits (246 comments) says:

    Anyone who is foolish enough to buy DPF’s spin on this story should rightly be voting for National and volunteering for their local branch and not get paid like the suckers that they are.

    This is no doubt a calculated move by Key. It keeps polling up. It makes National seem ‘honourable’. The National Party government is exactly what New Zealanders deserve – as we watch our economy go down the toilet whilst cheering on our nice and popular Prime Minister who doesn’t offend a single person.

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  51. Zapper (845 comments) says:

    Uh Jimmy, have you missed some of his recent quotes?

    Not that I could care less about who he is offending.

    I actually do believe Key has honour. Why? Because he doesn’t need this job, unlike career politicians like Labour and the Greens.

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  52. Reid (15,593 comments) says:

    What’s idiotic about that? There might be reasons not to go with that, but it’s not a completely absurd suggestion given recent events.

    Economies of scale and process normalisation Tom. Health and Safety is health and safety, it doesn’t make any sense to create a separate agency with its own funding and its own administration for mine safety anymore than it does for say, fishing, or wharves, or any other specific industry. Just because it has its own foibles isn’t a reason to do all of that which is what Kelly advocated, which is inefficient, whichever way you look at it.

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  53. Jimmy Smits (246 comments) says:

    Zapper (488) Says:
    November 5th, 2012 at 10:10 pm

    Uh Jimmy, have you missed some of his recent quotes?

    Not that I could care less about who he is offending.

    I actually do believe Key has honour. Why? Because he doesn’t need this job, unlike career politicians like Labour and the Greens.

    If he had an ounce of honour, he would not have ruled Roger Douglas out of Cabinet. If he had an ounce of honour, he would not be pandering to the Left all the time by doing absolutely nothing (other than whatever Labour would have done had they won the ’08 election). If he had an ounce of honour, he would not have increased GST to 15%. If he had an ounce of honour, he would treat the position of Prime Minister as one where he has a duty to serve the country to alleviate it from the shitty economy it is in, rather than use the role as one where he gets to smile in front of the camera and enjoy his retirement as a public celebrity. Actually, what he needs is not honour. What he needs is BALLS. It doesn’t matter if they’re gay or not – so long as he is doing something substantial, rather than waste time joking around on the radio.

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  54. Paul Williams (868 comments) says:

    David Garrett said:

    Wilkinson was never “officer material”

    Unlike yourself hey David? You were material for the officers – Police, Courts, Bar Association.

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  55. David Garrett (5,150 comments) says:

    Crikey! A sensitive little amphibian that toad…I thought my comment was very balanced…criticism of a member on both sides of the House!

    And perhaps toady is not aware that – incredible as it may sound – Cosgrove was in the habit of attacking Nat members for…wait for it….their lack of stature, and their hair colour or “do” !! If you are 5′ 3″ and have a very visible hair transplant I would have thought those were the two things you would steer very well clear of….

    Ah Mr Williams! the janitor at a TAFE in Australia who once earned a law degree…or are you the other one?

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  56. Paul Williams (868 comments) says:

    David, if I had your history, and I don’t despite living in the land of the crook, I’d be keeping my comments to myself.

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  57. Hesaidwot (1 comment) says:

    Some have noticed that this is a classic political “innoculation”. Hey if we stuff up our jobs and are blessed by National party favor we can get a $40k bonus like J Allen or if its really bad we can get a lighter workload but retain pay and perks and keep a seat at the executive table.

    For those who seem to have missed it, the DOL was working on a mine saftey plan/review. This was started under Labor but unfortunately when Kate Wilkinson took over she stopped the work. She did not replace it with anything else. Either she did not think mining was more dangerous than other jobs or placed her trust in the company. For those that still don’t get it, she stopped going to the pet shop looking for a new watchdog, and told the poodle at home that mine inspection is not a priority. I am sure she ponders what may have been, and hindsight is a great thing, but it is this responsibility that she should resign for. It is not as the PM has been saying today, a strength of character, Honorable, or responsible resignation. It was necessary because of the actions/inaction she made as minister. The resignation was an attempt to preserve the pay and perks. The resignation was an attempt to provide positive headlines. The resignation was an attempt to close the door so the press would not dig too hard to see the decisions she made directly (or not made) that could be seen to have contributed to the environment. And the writing was on the wall, she would have had to resign anyway, and been burned by the opposition/press on the way down. It was a matter of time.

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  58. joana (1,983 comments) says:

    I agree with Redbaiter..More boards , more frameworks..really? It is just like so many other areas in NZ where there are laws but they are not enforced.
    Beab
    Why should Neville Rockhouse shoulder the blame..? Pinning the blame on someone so low in the food chain is truly third world stuff. It protects the big guys..is this what we want?

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  59. joana (1,983 comments) says:

    Pauleastbay,
    I think your comment re Bernie Monk should have been deleted..
    ”and how lucky for him that one of the dead was some sort of relation ” His precious , lovely young son died. Does ACC or insurance bring back such a lovely son?
    Do you work at being such a jerk or does it come naturally?

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  60. Mark (1,302 comments) says:

    If Wilkinson considers that she has erred to the extent of being unable/unfit to carry on her role as a minister of the crown why does she think that she is fit to retain her other ministerial responsibilities? The comments that it is a claytons resignation on this blog are a pretty fair reflection.

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  61. ross69 (3,645 comments) says:

    > that would be why Darren Hughes stood down the moment he found out he was being investigated by the Police?

    Actually he resigned from Parliament while police were still investigating a complaint – but for the record, no charges were laid (which suggests the complaint was lacking in evidence and was possibly false). Spot the difference? Hughes leaves Parliament quickly, while Wilikinson remains in Parliament and remains in Cabinet to collect the perks of the job! The Tories have shown their true colours once again.

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  62. David Garrett (5,150 comments) says:

    Ross69: You are getting into very murky territory there old son…After the police said they were not going to charge him because there was insufficient evidence to suceed with a prosecution, Hughes foolishly came out and said he had been the victim of the false complaint. The police then issued a second statement saying there was no question of there having been a false complaint, and pointing out the difference between “insufficient evidence to sustain a prosection” and no crime having been committed and/or a false or malicious complaint.

    And before you make a fool of yourself with comparisions with the police annoucements regarding me and possible perjury, you would do well to compare and contrast the two statements. A first year law student will explain the differences in meaning to you if you can’t see it.

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  63. mikenmild (8,890 comments) says:

    I believe Hesaidwot above has hit the nail on the read about this ‘symbolic’ resignation. I was amused that David Garrett started going on about Cosgrove (again), because Kate Wilkinson has really shown us a ‘Claytons’ resignation.

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  64. ChardonnayGuy (1,024 comments) says:

    I applaud Ms Wilkinson’s decision. One hopes that senior Ministry officials similarly decide to fall on their swords next and that there is appropriate legislative reform, such as design and implementation of ‘corporate manslaughter’ legislation as a consequence of this tragedy and the resultant report.

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