Dave Feickert

January 21st, 2011 at 3:35 pm by David Farrar

Stuff is running an NZPA story:

The tragedy at the Pike River Coal mine would not have happened if New Zealand had maintained a mining inspector programme canned more than a decade ago, a mining specialist says.

A chief inspector would have noticed the dangerous levels of gases pooling at the West Coast mine, and the 29 men who died in explosions from November 19 on would still be alive.

Safety officials do monitor mines around the country, but the system was inferior to the inspector system that was used until the late 1990s, Dave Feickert said.

I am automatically suspicious of any so called expert who without any evidence at all claims the mine explosion would not have happened if x had been done. Considering we have a Royal Commission about to hear actual evidence on what caused the explosion, you wonder about the motives of someone who states opinion as fact.

It was not right that Prime Minister John Key was making decisions about mine safety because he was not an expert in the area, Mr Feickert said.

“No wonder the families of the 29 dead are furious. So they should be.”

I get even more suspicious when this expert makes a personal attack on the PM which is factually incorrect (Key has not made any decisions), and is encouraging the families to blame John Key.

Then a birdie from Whanganui tells me that Mr Feickert is in fact the Chairman of the Whanganui Labour Party. Suddenly it all makes sense.

A google search has not verified he is currently a Labour Party Chairman, but what it does reveal is that Feickert is:

  • a former top official in the militant British National Union of Mineworkers
  • the CTU unions Wanganui secretary
  • a member of the NZ Labour Party
  • supported Arthur Scargill in 1984 UK strikes

This is not to say that Feickert does not know a lot about mining. He does. But by not reporting he is a militant unionist and labour party office holder, then people don’t understand the context of why he is attacking John Key on false grounds.

UPDATE: Now confirmed that Feickert is (or at least was earlier this year) Labour’s Whanganui chairman.

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