Pike River

If you want to get things done, ask Bernie Monk

via Stuff

Who else has kept this issue alive through the years as well as caused a PM, party leaders and other significant community leaders to quiver in fear?

Pike River families believe they could know as soon as July whether a manned re-entry will be allowed into the drift.

Experts working with the families of some of the 29 men killed in the 2010 west coast mine disaster have put together a timeline for the government, setting out a 10-step process for re-entry.

Bernie Monk, whose son Michael was killed, says the families aren’t planning on messing around. Read more »

Chairman of Solid Energy says he’ll resign if forced to let people into Pike River

The current board chair of Solid Energy has said he will resign if forced to let people into the mine.

Andy Coupe, chairman of failed state-owned coal miner Solid Energy, said at a fiery select committee hearing yesterday that he would consider resigning if the Government ordered the company to re-enter the Pike River coal mine.

Solid Energy’s annual financial review at Parliament’s commerce select committee was dominated by questions about its decision to seal the mine, which has been closed since a gas explosion in 2010 killed 29 workers. The company’s chair appeared immediately after Fiona Kidman, who presented a petition asking the mine not be sealed. Family members and supporters packed the public gallery for both hearings. Prime Minister Bill English said this week sealing of the mine would be halted after he met with the families.

NZ First leader Winston Peters repeatedly criticised the committee’s chairwoman Melissa Lee for her allocation of questions — at one point saying she was chairing the meeting like a fascist — and clashed with Mr Coupe, interjecting during his initial presentation and when the chair was answering questions.

Mr Peters, who in December pledged to be first to re-enter the mine, quizzed Mr Coupe over the possibility of unmanned entry to the drift, and criticised him for not knowing the details of his coverage and premiums for his director’s insurance.

Read more »

Pike River hearing a “circus”, but not because of Winston

via 3 News

The New Zealand First leader clashed on numerous occasions with the new chair of the Commerce Committee, National MP Melissa Lee, who had to apologise to the submitters and the public for his behaviour.

“I’m not going allow you to turn this into a circus,” she told Mr Peters before turning to Pike families spokesman Bernie Monk, petitioner Dame Fiona Kidman, and mines expert Tony Forster. Read more »

What super power does Bernie Monk have? Now he has another PM grovelling for his approval

The Prime Minister has met with the Pike River Mine families today, saying he acknowledges their loss and suffering.

“The families want to recover their loved ones and ensure such a disaster never happens again and I accept they want to take every possible step to achieve this,” Mr English says.

“No matter how we try and achieve this, we must adhere to the improved workplace health and safety laws we passed in the aftermath of the Pike River Mine tragedy.

“This decision is not about politics, it is about safety. We lost 29 lives in that mine and I will not risk losing any more.

“On that, there is common ground. The families’ spokespeople, their experts and Solid Energy all agree that the mine would have to be made safe before an entry could occur.

“The families’ proposal for entry, made public in December, does not include a detailed plan, and therefore does not make the case for a safe re-entry.

“Any decision to re-enter would also have to be made in accordance with our current workplace safety law, so the new directors would still have to take responsibility without indemnity for all aspects of safely entering the mine. It’s highly unlikely a new set of directors would decide it could be done safely. Read more »

John Armstrong points out some cold hard truths over Pike River

John Armstrong has a very good piece at TVNZ about Pike River:

When it comes to the vexed question of whether the families of the men killed in the Pike River 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.

Good to see a media commentator not playing politics with this and dealing with facts.

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.   Read more »

Angry Andy has fallen into Winston’s trap

Labour leader Andrew Little has a new proposal to re-enter the Pike River coal mine which involves exempting Solid Energy from health and safety laws.

Little said today he would table a bill in Parliament on the first sitting day in February which would assist the families in their bid to access the West Coast coal mine’s drift.

Prime Minister Bill English has said health and safety laws which were introduced in response to the Pike River disaster in 2010 make any re-entry all but impossible.

During a visit to Greymouth today, Little said he had a solution. Read more »

Pike River protestors get their marching orders

Their rag tag protest was never going to get that far and it seems it is illegal too.

Solid Energy has sent an official letter to protesters blocking Pike River Mine saying their occupation of the land is illegal.

The letter has been acknowledged by the landowner, who has advised the protesters that blocking the road is illegal and withdrawn permission for them to occupy the land.

Solid Energy raised the legal agreements in their letter that confirm the company has full rights of access.   Read more »

How is this anything other than shabby, petulant blackmail?

Is anyone else sick to death of the entitled attitude of the Pike River families?

They are now resorting to stand-over and blackmail to put even more people’s lives at risk.

The Pike River families now control access road to the mine, vowing to rise at the crack of dawn on Monday to block Solid Energy’s attempts to seal the “crime scene”.

Family members of the 29 men killed at Pike River in 2010, along with their supporters, have been protesting at the Pike River mine access road since November 12.

They want to stop mine owners Solid Energy permanently sealing it mine with concrete before the drift – a tunnel leading into the mine – is explored.

Bernie Monk, who lost his son Michael in the disaster, announced on Sunday night the families had been gifted legal control of the access road by landowner Colin van der Geest.   Read more »

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What was Andrew Little’s role in Pike River?

Andrew Little 13

George commented last night:

Could you ever imagine John Key making such a childish statement when debating the recovery of the Pike River miners? Andrew Little at his contemptuous best. “Just this week, Mr Key sent Nick Smith to threaten the Pike families with arrest if they try to stop Solid Energy entombing their loved ones”. what a bonehead! It is statements like that which endorses the commonly held belief that he does not have the dignity, decorum or intelligence to lead the country. Whilst this braindead statement is a figment of his unionist imagination, the more disturbing aspect of this uttering is his belief that it will generate political capital. This is clear evidence how out of touch he is with the common decency of the average Kiwi.

Whilst we are on the issue of Pike River might I take the liberty to remind you Andrew of a few small details. At the time of the 2010 explosion you were head of the EPMU which represented approximately half of the 140 miners on the site. You said there had been no problems at Pike River Coal and defended its safety record. (21 Nov 2010 Morning Report RNZ) and (NZH 22 Nov). The question that needs to be answered is why you sat on your hands when members of your union had expressed concerns about the safety of the mine?   Read more »

After Labour goes all in over Pike River the facts emerge

Labour has gone all in over Pike River trying to get a hit on John Key.

Yet again though they haven’t done their homework and after claiming it was safe to go get the charred remains (if any) the facts about the mine have emerged.

In a strongly worded statement released earlier today, Solid Energy hit out at “inaccurate and misleading statements in the media“, saying they were feeding “false hope”.

“It is disingenuous and, frankly, deeply disappointing for commentators who lack the full information base on which this decision was made – and who bear no legal responsibility for the outcomes of the re-entry project – to once again raise hopes regarding re-entry,” the statement said.

The company said its decision was based on an exhaustive investigation into the feasibility of safe re-entry and was backed by the independent expertise of Emeritus Professor Jim Galvin – a professor of mining engineering at the University of New South Wales and an internationally recognised expert in underground coal mining risk management.   Read more »