One Way Or the Other . . .

May They Face Justice

This story has got to be one of the worst we have encountered over the past year.  It is blood-boiling stuff.  It involves liars, creeps, dissemblers, manipulators, and confidence tricksters.  In other words, it involves the leaders of our present government.

At this point, most readers will turn the page, thinking “So, what else is new.  Let’s move along.”  But for our own sanity we feel compelled to write about this.

The issue involves the dreaded Pike River Mine, inside which the remains of 29 dead miners have been left.  The mine is now sealed: flooded with methane, the risk of entry was assessed as too high. The previous government ruled that re-entry was too risky; it would endanger the safety of those entering.  Therefore, the mine would be sealed.  However, a small group of miner families, having lost loved ones, has pushed and pushed and pushed the government to re-enter the mine and retrieve the remains so that the families can put the tragedy to rest.  The rest of the mining families have made the better decision, humbled themselves, accepted reality and moved on.

In the recent election campaign three people, who can only be described as amoral creeps, sought to exploit the situation for political gain: Winston Peters, Andrew Little, and Jacinda Ardern.
  They promised that if elected to form a government they would support re-entry into the mine and would disinter the dead.  The previous government had done the responsible and moral thing: they forbade any attempt at re-entry because of the (very high) risks of entering the methane-saturated killing chamber.

But Winston Peters, a loathsome man, sniffed a political opportunity.  He promised that if in government he would ensure that the still-grieving families would be able to enter the mine.

Winston Peters says re-entering Pike River mine is a “bottom line” to any election deal made next year.  In interviews this morning, Peters also reiterated his claim that he will enter the mine himself.  “I’m making no bones about it, we’ll give these people a fair-go, and yes this is a bottom line, and it shouldn’t have to be,” he said on TV’s Paul Henry show on Wednesday morning.

Any political party seeking New Zealand First’s support to form a government in the 2017 election will have to commit to re-entering the mine.  He reiterated his offer to enter the mine himself in a heated interview with RNZ’s Morning Report on Wednesday.  “I didn’t want to be the first back in, I said when you have the first crew lining up to go back in, I’m offering to go,” Peters said.

He described the plan to encase the Pike River Mine in concrete as a “cover-up”.  On Tuesday evening said Peters was so confident in the expert plan and as “someone with some experience” in working underground, he would have no problem entering the mine drift.  [Stuff]

And during the actual election campaign, Peters doubled down.

The Pike River families have “full faith” Winston Peters will secure a manned re-entry into the mine, seven years after 29 men lost their lives.  Mr Peters is meeting with the families on Thursday morning, before he begins coalition talks with Bill English and Jacinda Ardern later in the day.

Families spokesman Bernie Monk told media in Wellington they knew they had Mr Peters’ support.  “He’s a man of his word, and we’re going to support him the whole way… We’ve got full faith in Winston Peters and what he’s going to do.”  . . . Asked if reentering the mine was still one of NZ First’s bottom lines, Mr Peters responded: “What do you think? How many times do I have to tell you?”  He said the party wanted to do “what’s right by those people”.  Labour has already agreed to re-enter the mine, National hasn’t.  

The Labour Party swung in behind, with Andrew Little and Jacinda Ardern pimping their sympathy and support for the grieving families, and for re-entry to garner more votes.  Now it has all turned to custard–as they knew it would all along.

Little, Peters, and Ardern are singing from a new songsheet.  They are now trying to pass off responsibility for actually doing what they promised to a nameless, as-yet-not-appointed bureaucrat.  Firstly, they set up a special government agency (Pike River Recovery Agency) to get the bodies out.  Then came the question of who would be liable if anyone lost their lives in the highly toxic and dangerous recovery.  New Zealand has very strict Health and Safety Laws.  Would Little, or Peters or Ardern step up?  Oh no.  Now it becomes clear.  The chief executive of the new agency would be entirely responsible if anyone lost their lives in the recovery attempt.

Both Jacinda Ardern and Little said there would be risk involved with a manned re-entry, but it was up to the agency to assess the risk and to mitigate it, and if the level of risk was acceptable, go forward with the re-entry.

They also said anyone tasked with carrying out the re-entry had the right to refuse to take part in the job, if they deemed it unsafe. . . . 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.  [Stuff.  Emphasis, ours]

In other words, these three charlatans have led the Pike River families by nose rings to manipulate them for their own political purposes–yet all the while knowing that they would not make themselves responsible for any liability or deaths or injury over re-entry.  It would all fall upon the head of the man or woman leading the special agency.  And that person, whoever they turn out to be, will doubtless conclude that the risks are far too high, and the former government’s decision on the matter will stand.

In the meantime, the charlatans gave those families false hopes.  They made promises they knew they could not, and would not, keep.  They did this for self-interested reasons.  They exploited the weak and vulnerable.  They refused to tell them the truth. They played them for fools. 

Here is an account of another of Little’s public lies:

Mr Little told Newshub’s The AM Show it was a top priority and that just a day after being sworn in he started arrangements to meet the families and gather all the relevant reports.  The previous government had maintained getting people into the mine was too dangerous.  Mr Little told Newhub’s The AM Show today that he had two comprehensive reports and he believes manned entry is entirely achievable.

“There are risks – but there’s risks [in] doing anything.  So lets clear all that stuff out of the way, lets look at what we know is there, what we know that the technology and the science tells us is possible, and work up that plan.”  Mr Little said he was still to meet with the different technical experts to fully understand the situation, but hoped to get people into the mine by March or April next year.  [Newshub]

Now, the full weight of the decision to go into the mine, and full legal liability will  be heaped upon the head of a bureaucrat.  Of course it was always going to be that way.  Politicians such these never, ever stand accountable.  But natural justice means that the blood, were any to be lost, will be firmly upon their heads and hands for eternity.  So be it. 

We despise you for taking advantage of the vulnerable for your own gain.  Hucksters and confidence tricksters you are, and forever will remain.  Exponents of dirty politics for personal gain.

Hat Tip: YourNZ

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