The chief executive of the Pike River Recovery Agency will be held responsible if anything goes wrong with the re-entry of the drift.
Last month, the Prime Minister and Andrew Little – the Minister Responsible for the Pike River Re-entry, announced the Government would establish a government department by the end of January 2018 to assess the risk associated with a manned re-entry, and the best way to carry out the entry.
The entry of the mine’s drift, and the recovery of any remains of the 29 men killed in 2010, would be completed by March 2019.
At the time of the announcement, Little said the agency – Te Kahui Whakamana Rua Tekau ma Iwa (The Empowering Voice for the Pike 29) – would answer to him, and as the minister in charge, he would have the final decision.
He refused to respond to questions on who would be held liable, under New Zealand health and safety laws, if something went wrong.
However, documents relating to the establishment of the agency show the chief executive of the agency would be held legally responsible if something went wrong.
A ministerial briefing paper from November 3, said the liability would rest with those instructed by the minister, not the minister.
Who would want to be that Chief Executive? Little gives the order but you’re the one who goes to jail if anyone is seriously harmed in the reentry!