Armstrong on Pike River


When it comes to the vexed question of whether the families of the men killed in the disaster will be granted permission to recover the bodies of their loved ones, you can forget it.

It ain’t going to happen. Not now. Not ever. Full stop.

Yep, despite the ghouls in politics trying to make capital out if it with false promises.

Even were Solid Energy to have a rush of blood to its head and reverse its current intention to seal the mine’s entrance for good and instead allow a recovery operation to be mounted, the company’s managers would find a prohibition order slapped on them by WorkSafe New Zealand, the Crown agency responsible for administering the new and much tougher law now covering occupational health and safety.

Such an order can be imposed if WorkSafe believes something is occurring at a workplace that “involves or will involve” serious risk to the health or safety of a person.

So even if Solid Energy was persuaded, they can be over-ruled by Worksafe.

It needs to be remembered that the rewrite of occupational health and safety law flowed directly from the Pike River Company’s failures to ensure its workers did not come to harm.

To treat the Pike River mine site as suddenly exempt from the very piece of law it engendered is not just utterly mind-blowing. It is delusional.

This is now the official policy of the Labour Party, led by the former head of the miners’ union. They should be ashamed.

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