Pike River

Michael Dickison in the NZ Herald reports:

The Pike River mining disaster being cited by a union boss as an example of an anti-worker culture is “churlish”, says the Prime Minister.

Council of Trade Unions president Helen Kelly told the Labour Party Congress yesterday that Pike River had “failed in its fundamental duty to provide a safe workplace” yet was initially protected from scrutiny by the state.

She noted how John Key had sat next to Pike River’s chief executive during the memorial service.

Mr Key said last night that Ms Kelly was being “churlish” – and dangerous, too, considering that a Royal Commission of Inquiry was ongoing.

“For Helen Kelly to make those comments until we know what actually happened in that mine is inappropriate in my view. It’s getting in the way of the royal commission.”

The memorial had been a time for everyone to grieve rather than to apportion blame, Mr Key said.

“That day may well come, depending on the results of the royal commission, but it wasn’t appropriate at the time when we held a memorial service.”

 It was a bizarre rant from Helen Kelly. She seemed upset that Pike River executives were not immediately tarred and feathered and made into national villians.

As the PM says, she doesn’t seem to realise the difference between a time to mourn and a time to find out what happened, and who is to blame.

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