A guest post by commenter “Flipper:
“It is interesting that the media are ignoring the real implications of the Pike River death dance by Cunliffe and his union cronies.
I suppose their ignorance is in part explained (or increased) by the fact that the New Zealand Herald has taken unto itself the right to be the standard bearer for Cunliffe on this issue. It has done so to the point where two experienced columnists – Armstrong and O’Sullivan – have rallied to support their Editor (Currie) and his love affair with Cunliffe. The stance adopted by both Armstrong and O’Sullivan recently, and again today, is disappointing because it is yet another example of NZ Herald news manipulation. This planned approach, covering all APNZ publications, was exposed by Whaleoil in his now famous “Hit job” report. One sees the Herald’s support of Cunliffe’ s crass exploitation of already hugely compensated tragedy families from Pike Mine as “pay- back” for a Government that “escaped” their planned assassination conspiracy on retirement homes.
But there is another, wider, issue that some folk have observed: the proclivity of the media, especially including Fairfax, TVs One and 3, and the Herald, to chase down blind alleys. In the past year there have been numerous “expose” stories that were going, they said, to bring the Key Government down. These have ranged from Dotcom, to GCSB, to Dunne, to Vance, to Fonterra, to Nova pay, to Hekia Parata, to the Christchurch schools, to Len Brown’s loopy rail plans, to a non-existent manufacturing crisis and a non- existent regional crisis, to Tiwai Smelter, to Graeme Wheeler’s LVRs – and even to Roast Busters and more. All were promoted and portrayed as “killer” blows. Is Pike River another “blind alley”?
As November 2013 draws to a close it is clear that they were largely media promoted events that had very little impact on middle New Zealand – a New Zealand starting to enjoy the fruits of three/four years of pump grinding while Europe is still in a mess. The polls do not support the garbage promoted by Armstrong, Currie, O’Sullivan, Gower, Watkins, Small, Vance, Wood, et al. They live in an esoteric world totally divorced from the reality in which real New Zealand lives and, now, prospers. Good economic news of the kind that almost all of Europe would welcome is ignored. It does not fit the frame (up) that the media wants to promote. Pity.
And that brings me back to Pike River. Armstrong, Currie, and O’Sullivan are extremely foolish to persist in their pro Cunliffe stance. Court awarded reparations are a bottomless pit – a hole in the ground – into which the taxpayer would be required to pour endless millions. The Government designs roads. Faulty design causes accidents that kill drivers. The CTV building collapses. Who is responsible? By the Armstrong/Currie/ O’Sullivan line, the taxpayers should pick up the tab for Pike River corporate fines because, in O’Sullivan’s words, and after receiving millions in compensation and aid, with many, many millions still to come, the Cunliffe promise of $3.4 million is just “a drop in the bucket”. Your pontification O’Sullivan, is beneath any serious reporter. But are you a reporter? Or are you now an advocacy journalist, like Mazda Campbell? It is time that Fran, John, and Shayne, sat down and re-thought their roles.
Pike River has been handled by the Government with care and dignity. The response on our behalf has been measured, but fair, and appropriately humane. Could some things have been done better (think Policeman Knowles)? Yep. The Pike River death dance orchestrated by Cunliffe, with the support of some media, is a sign of Cunliffe’ s desperation, his “war footing” cry having slipped to the very edge of the abyss. Give it up.
My thoughts on Pike River is that if Cunliffe seriously thinks the Government should pay, than why not have the parties that were in Government pay, rather than us poor innocent taxpayers. Regulatory problems happened under both Labour and National Governments. It is easy for Cunliffe to declare that taxpayers should pay, but why should we pay for mistakes made by the Government he was part of.
So why doesn’t Cunliffe pledge $1.5 million to be paid to Pike River families from the Labour parliamentary budget, and call on National to do the same. Would that not be fairer that asking for taxpayers to pay?