A sensible step forward for Pike

January 10th, 2013 at 7:59 am by David Farrar

Deidre Mussen at Stuff reports:

wrote to Solid Energy before Christmas saying a new expert panel was being set up to advise the Government on the feasibility of body recovery at the underground West Coast mine.

The men died after an explosion at the mine in November 2010.

Key had reiterated to Pike families at a meeting in Greymouth last month the Government was unlikely to fund body recovery because his experts said it was too dangerous and expensive.

However, he admitted the families were frustrated by his stance because their experts were more optimistic about it.

As a result, a panel of mining experts from diverse backgrounds, including from Solid Energy, Mines Rescue Trust, Pike families and the Government’s High Hazards Unit, would be brought together to try to get a consensus on whether it was possible plus its risks and costs.

Key wrote that he was “very keen for the families to have closure one way or another as soon as reasonably possible”.

He also confirmed the Government would pay for all out-of-pocket costs to explore the mine’s 2.3 kilometre tunnel, where some bodies might remain, if a viable plan was developed that the Government’s High Hazards Unit backed.

It included paying for the families’ international mining experts to return to New Zealand to meet other experts to develop a tunnel exploration plan.

Pike families were “ecstatic” with the prime minister’s offer.

“Certainly it’s a turnaround in that he is finally listening to us instead of sticking to his expert’s advice,” said Bernie Monk, who lost his son Michael, 23, in the fatal explosion.

I think the issue has been different experts have said different things. Paying to get them all together in one room, and seeing if they can agree on what can be safely done is a good thing.

Also useful to clarify that costs will be met by the Government in any tunnel exploration, even if not a full reclamation.

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10 Responses to “A sensible step forward for Pike”

  1. Redbaiter (9,662 comments) says:

    Yep, a convention of risk averse pencil pushing clip board wielding safety vest attired “experts”, that will fix it.

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  2. Redbaiter (9,662 comments) says:

    Anyone doubt the outcome?

    (miss the edit function)

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  3. RRM (10,034 comments) says:

    Without knowing what’s changed since the last time the experts gave their views, it’s pretty hard to guess whether this new meeting of the experts will come up with a different answer than all that’s gone before.

    This is Key being seen to be doing something, on some issue, to get his 2013 on a roll.

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  4. kowtow (8,784 comments) says:

    Did John Key make a promise to prioritise the recovery?

    Experts? No doubt “experts” said the mine was safe to work in.

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  5. joana (1,983 comments) says:

    ”Frustrated by his stance.” Wow that is an understatement.

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  6. lilman (968 comments) says:

    Frustrated by his stance you say.
    Well Im frustrated by the locals firing barbs at everyone and sundry except the people who were in control of safety at the mine.As they were there on a daily basis and had direct input into standards and there enforcement ,they should be held accountable.
    The Government is trying to deal with the present caused by actions of the past,if blame is to be put then dont bag Wellington but share some with the people whos job it was to measure safety daily.

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  7. Nigel Kearney (1,051 comments) says:

    How much time, money and risk are worth it just to move some human remains from one place underground to another place underground? When my brother died we never got back any remains. You can deal with grief and achieve closure without ever seeing a body, and these families may need help doing that. But we don’t need a risk assessment to know that opening up the mine and going in just to get the remains out is too risky and too expensive.

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  8. BeaB (2,150 comments) says:

    The old way to honour dead entombed miners was to seal off the mine forever. Much more dignified than this sentimental drama when the only ‘bodies’ are likely to be a few sad relics we will have a media bunfight over. Bernie Monk really does need to move on and let someone else hog the limelight.

    lilman – I agree with you. Where were the unions? Or did they only turn up to collect their dues and to make capital out of a tragedy?And what about that safety officer who lost one son? What was he taking his pay cheque for?

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  9. lofty (1,317 comments) says:

    Oh and Deidre Mussen, its Mr Key, you bad mannered person.

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  10. felldownagain (5 comments) says:

    Agree. He is our highest elected official.

    One can almost sense the metaphorical condescending sneer of some of these self important bimbos.

    Mike

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