The Laws of Consanguinity Are Not a Joke

Oliver J J Lane

A new report from the London Borough of Redbridge has revealed almost one in five of all child deaths in the area since 2008 were down to their parents being close relatives.   The statistic was discussed at a meeting of the Redbridge Council Health and Well-being Board on Monday, with the matter of child fatality being raised.  

The council’s report found between 2008 and 2016, 19 per cent of child deaths in the borough were caused by infants being born to “consanguineous relationships” — marriage or otherwise sexual relations between couples who are first cousins or closer. The recording year of 2009-10 saw the highest number of child deaths in the period.   Of all deaths in that year, the second greatest cause was “chromosomal, genetic or congenital abnormalities”.  

Overall, 65 per cent of child deaths occurred before the age of one.   The Ilford Recorder reports the remarks of Child Death Overview Panel Chairman Gladys Xavier who told the meeting there were ongoing education programmes targeting Asian communities in the area to address the prevalence of incest, which the paper referred to as a “continued problem”.
  The council has also asked local schools to emphasise the teaching of genetics to children.   The 2011 census found that 41 per cent of Redbridge residents identified as Asian or Asian British, and the religious makeup of the area was 36.8 per cent Christian, 23.3 per cent Muslim, and 11.4 per cent Hindu.  

Concerns over consanguineous relationships in Redbridge focus around particular communities in the borough, with the report stating the practice “is most common among Pakistani communities”, and the same pattern can be observed in Redbridge.   Of all child deaths in the area in the time studies, nine per cent were to Pakistani ethnicity parents and were the “result of genetic complications arising from having related parents”.   Despite the attempts to reach out to these communities, there was a concern the educational drive was falling on deaf ears. Councillor Joyce Ryan told the board meeting: “Although everyone is battling hard at this it is something that some communities struggle to accept and sometimes do not want to accept.”

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Daily Meditation

Then Comes The Tragic Dance
Lewis, grieving the death of his wife, Joy:

C. S. Lewis

And then one or other dies. And we think of this as love cut short; like a dance stopped in mid-career or a flower with its head unluckily snapped off—something truncated and therefore, lacking its due shape. I wonder. If, as I can’t help suspecting, the dead also feel the pains of separation (and this may be one of their purgatorial sufferings), then for both lovers, and for all pairs of lovers without exception, bereavement is a universal and integral part of our experience of love. 
It follows marriage as normally as marriage follows courtship or as autumn follows summer. It is not a truncation of the process but one of its phases; not the interruption of the dance, but the next figure. We are ‘taken out of ourselves’ by the loved one while she is here. 
Then comes the tragic figure of the dance in which we must learn to be still taken out of ourselves though the bodily presence is withdrawn, to love the very Her, and not fall back to loving our past, or our memory, or our sorrow, or our relief from sorrow, or our own love.
A Grief Observed. Copyright © 1961 by N. W. Clerk, restored 1996 C. S. Lewis Pte. Ltd. Preface by Douglas H. Gresham copyright © 1994 by Douglas H. Gresham. All rights reserved. Used with permission of HarperCollins Publishers. A Year With C.S. Lewis: Daily Readings from His Classic Works. Copyright © 2003 by C. S. Lewis Pte. Ltd. All rights reserved. Used with permission of HarperCollins Publishers.

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Modern Mouthpieces for Marx

Deformed Charities

It seems that more-than-a-few charities end up morphing into partisan hucksters promoting Leftist propaganda.  It is understandable, if deeply regrettable.   More than a few Christian based charities have travelled this road to corruption, which is even more deeply regrettable.

Those charities with a global horizon end up being confronted by genocides, famines, and gross injustices.  Of wars and rumours of wars there is no end.  Relying upon faithful donors in the “private sector” (that is, non-state parties) means that every such charity has to live with the dissatisfaction of never being able to make a difference in a global sense.  That is, they can only “win” in a micro, isolated sense.  They cannot win globally.

Faced with this perpetual failure many such charities go over to the dark side.  That is, they seek more and more support and funding from governments.  Why?  Because governments have the big bucks; with support from state-parties they can really make a difference–or so they tell themselves.  Within a decade or so, these now-State-dependant charities become fronts and mouthpieces for Leftist propaganda.  They increasingly look to governments to fulfill their mission.

The Institute of Economic Affairs profiles one such compromised charity: Oxfam.

Oxfam began as the Oxford Committee for Famine Relief. It still does valuable disaster relief work today, but it often functions like a political campaign group. Each year it releases a report on inequality just before the World Economic Forum in Davos. This purports to show the failure of the global economic system.

The conventional view of capitalism—shared by people from across the political mainstream such as Ed Miliband and Theresa May, despite their differences—is that it generates a lot of wealth, but distributes it unevenly. Oxfam’s figures are supposed to illustrate this: the latest numbers show that eight billionaires own 0.25 per cent of the world’s net wealth, as much as the 3.6 billion who make up the poorest half (in terms of net wealth) of the world’s population. Those at the bottom of the net wealth distribution include, for example, recent Harvard graduates with high levels of student debt and yet huge earning potential: they are supposed to be amongst the poorest people in the world according to Oxfam.

Having “proved” wealth inequality, the siren banshee starts to wail–moaning and shrieking, demanding state-enforced redistribution.  This necessarily involves extracting money from the wealthy via steeply progressive taxation rates, and redistributing it to the poorest.  It turns out, however, that the entire case is a lie, a gross misdirection.

The irrelevance of Oxfam’s figures

Indeed, it is worth thinking a little more about what Oxfam’s figures mean (if anything). A lot of people in the world have little or no net wealth. There can be several reasons for this. If you are reading this as a 6th-form student, chances are that you will not have any net wealth to speak of, and nor will most of your peers. People accumulate wealth over the course of their life cycle, and even the better-off in this country do not tend to accumulate significant net wealth before their 30s. So if you consider that the global median age is about 28 years, it is hardly surprising that a huge proportion of the world’s population does not own any wealth. Basically, Oxfam is just adding up a lot of zeros. . . .

What is important for people is their income, which finances their lifestyle. There is good data available on incomes, which Oxfam could use if they wanted to talk about inequality. But that would not suit Oxfam’s narrative. Global income inequality is falling, as the poor have gained disproportionately from globalisation.

What, then, about the filthy rich billionaires?  Surely, they have far more wealth than they will ever need.  Surely some progressive blood-sucking is more than merited in their case.  It is at this point that the implicit Marxism lying behind the Oxfam case becomes exposed.  Sadly, Oxfam ideologues hold to the now-thoroughly discredited notion that wealth is finite.  It is a fixed-size pie.  If someone eats a bigger piece, everyone else must have smaller pieces.  Sadly, this notion has the sophistication and veracity of a new-born’s first burblings.

The rich get rich by only by making the poor better off

Oxfam highlights how the eight richest people who top their list are mostly Americans, with four of them being tech billionaires. But tech billionaires are a paradigmatic example of entrepreneurs who earned their fortunes by creating products that benefited everyone. Facebook has enabled us to keep in contact with old friends and relatives in a way that was impossible before. Thanks to Amazon, we can purchase even rare, out-of-print books that would only otherwise have been hard to track, and get them delivered tomorrow. In America, fortunes mostly reflect exceptional contributions to society—not the exploitation of others.

Globalisation has helped such tech billionaires to become much richer than they could have in times when markets were protected. But, this reflects the fact that their products are used worldwide, and that they help pull people out of poverty. For example, over 60 per cent of Kenyans use mobile phones to make payments. Mobiles are used by farmers to compare and check prices so that they are not exploited by local monopolies. Globalisation in general, and mobile phone technology in particular, are major contributors to the huge recent improvements in living standards in poor countries. Worldwide, there are 1.6 billion Facebook users – you are probably one of them. But, the founder of Facebook did not get rich by making others poorer. Trade is a process of mutual enrichment. Facebook has made a lot of people better off. However, Mark Zuckerberg is much better off because he benefits from the fact that so many people are using Facebook. Meanwhile, there will be many, many more entrepreneurs who have tried and failed – entrepreneurship is a risky business.

The IEA authors then go on to demonstrate that poverty is falling world-wide–and not because of state-enforced redistribution.  They expose the selective cherry-picking of the Oxfam propagandists, who ignore the past history of poor countries, and the enormous progress which has been made in recent decades–without redistribution of wealth.

Globalisation and poverty

And it is this tendency of many countries towards embracing market institutions—a development which is by no means complete—that Oxfam fails to mention in their annual screed. This year they highlighted Vietnam as a case of deprivation, and it is true that Vietnam is still a very poor country. But it started from a very low base: they only began to move towards capitalism in 1986. Since then, their income per capita has increased from $100 per annum to $2,000, and it continues to grow at high rates, mirroring the much-acclaimed success of China and, to a lesser extent, India. China and India are still very poor by Western standards, but a report focused on how capitalism was failing them would rightly have been deemed ludicrous—it is obvious that they have done a lot better since abandoning full state control of their economy, even if, again, there is still a long way to go. China’s real national income per head was $193 in 1980. Today, it stands at $6,807 per head (IFAD, 2014, p.5). This is not due to redistribution, it is due to trade and the liberalisation of some markets.

Globally, extreme poverty has fallen from 44 per cent in 1980 to around 10 per cent today. The literacy rate has risen from 56 per cent to 85 per cent over the same period. The world could do much better still, but not by hiking wealth taxes and closing down ‘tax havens’, but by improving the basic institutional framework (property rights, the rule of law, impartial courts) that we know allows countries to grow out of poverty.

Kenya and South Korea were about equally rich – or rather, equally poor – in 1960. Kenya has seen some significant improvements in very recent years, and is one of the better-off countries in East Africa. But incomes in South Korea have grown more than fifteen-fold, and are now almost on a par with Western Europe. It was sound institutions, the freedom to establish businesses and to engage in mutually enriching trade that lead to the elimination of poverty, higher literacy rates and better health.

A focus upon measuring income inequalities amongst nations can be deceptive and misleading.  In Oxfam’s hands that precisely what has happened.  It is so keen to see states attack the uber-wealthy, it is blind to how nations and societies actually develop out of poverty to wealth.  Once critical factor is time.  It takes decades.  As it did in England.  What really matters is whether incomes are rising, not how far “behind” one nation is.

However, increases in income translate into increases in wealth only over a very long time, because most people immediately consume the bulk of what they earn. And it is the growth in incomes that really matters. Redistributing wealth would be a poor policy choice. Let us suppose that we went even further than Oxfam would like, expropriated the wealth of the world’s eight richest people, and distributed it evenly among the world’s population and over their lifespans. Depending on how you calculate it, you would end up giving everybody a pay rise of between 65p and £1 per year – or about 0.03 per cent for your average Kenyan. And, at the same time, you would have destroyed the system by which entrepreneurial-led innovation promotes economic growth and which has enriched previously destitute countries in a way that Oxfam could never have imagined back in 1980. Of course you could follow more moderate policies and just expropriate these people partially, say, via a 10 per cent wealth tax. This would cause less damage, but the amount you can redistribute becomes even smaller.

It is not redistribution, but mutually enriching trade and economic growth which is the hope for the world’s poor today – just as it was in the past. To put it another way, we should stop focusing on the rich as if they were the problem, and, instead, focus on policies to reduce poverty.

Ironically–and this is the norm–Oxfam has become an impediment, and unwitting opponent to genuine, sustainable improvements in nations which help lift everyone out of abject poverty.  A rising tide lifts all boats.  But not all boats are of the same size, dimensions, or utility.  And there is nothing wrong or evil about that.

Oxfam’s “evidential” cherry picking, in support of its Leftist redistributionist agenda, is dishonest.
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dead bodies waiting


devotional post # 2022

Luke 17:32-37

Luk 17:32 Remember Lot’s wife!
Luk 17:33 Whoever seeks to protect his soul will lose it, but whoever loses it will preserve it.
Luk 17:34 I tell you, in that night there will be two people in one bed; one will be taken and the other left.
Luk 17:35 There will be two women grinding grain together; one will be taken and the other left.”
Luk 17:37 Then the disciples said to him, “Where, Lord?” He replied to them, “Where the dead body is, that is where the vultures will gather.”

dead bodies waiting

Lot’s wife found it impossible to leave her comfortable surroundings, even when they were falling apart all around her. The same is true of us in our inner beings. In spite of the harm that sin has done to us, we still want to linger in Sodom. But Jesus challenges us to escape while we can.

This passage is not so much about secret rapture as it is about sudden destruction. It will happen everywhere, because the whole world needs to conform to God’s kingdom, but resists it. We are all dead bodies waiting to be taken by the vultures. But God’s word challenges us all to awake and flee Sodom while we still can.

LORD, we hear you calling. Protect us from the coming destruction.


The Fruits of Self-Worship

Self Indulgence and Narcissism

Virginia Hale
Breitbart London

One of Britain’s top private schools is bringing in ‘gender-neutral’ uniforms that would allow boys to wear skirts, as teachers report growing numbers of children ‘questioning their gender identity’.

The move by Highgate School in north London comes as activist pupils at schools across the country are demanding ‘gender-neutral’ bathroom facilities, a ban on terms they deem ‘sexist’, and for teachers to use gender-neutral pronouns such as “they”.

“This generation is really questioning being binary in the way we look at things,” headteacher Adam Pettitt told The Sunday Times.   Separate uniforms for boys and girls will be scrapped under the plans, and pupils at the £6,790 per term secondary school are being consulted on a mix-and-match dress code.   Items included in the new dress code won’t be linked to sex, noted Pettitt, who told the newspaper: “We are asking [pupils], should it be called uniform number one and uniform number two?”

Highgate’s current uniform policy allows female pupils to wear trousers, dark blue jackets, and ties but boys can’t choose to wear the grey pleated skirts that make up part of the girls’ uniform. Pettitt said some former pupils at the school, whose alumni include the cricketer Phil Tufnell and the poet T.S. Eliot, have opposed the changes. “They write in and say if you left children to their own devices they would grow up differently and you are promoting the wrong ideas.”

But the headmaster added that if boys choose to wear skirts, then “if [as a result] they feel happier and more secure in who they are, it must be a good thing.”   Highgate is set to hold a conference for dozens of schools titled The Developing Teenager next month, at which one of the topics to be discussed is how teachers should handle growing pressure from pupils to scrap the “old fashioned” idea that there are two sexes.

The Sunday Times reported figures showing  a surge in the number of children wanting to change gender, with more than 2,000 minors referred to north London’s Gender Identity Clinic (GIC) at the Tavistock and Portman NHS Foundation Trust last year, compared to just 100 when it opened eight years ago.

But critics warn the rush by schools to implement gender-neutral policies being demanded by activists risked encouraging “copycat” behaviour amongst children, fuelled by social media and the internet. As it was reported in 2015 that 80 primary school-aged children a year were being branded transgendered, experts  they were emerging in “clusters” – in schools where the fad had taken off.

A study by Mark Zucker at the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health in Toronto, found that transgenderism was more prominent and persistent amongst children when promoted by adults. Researchers observed that children who saw therapists and others in authority who assume they belong to the opposite sex can actually become more distressed, exacerbating their “gender dysphoric identity”.

[Postscript: We predict that within twenty-five years these schools will be subject to class action law suits for the damage they have perpetrated upon naive, self-indulged pupils.  May the settlements be prodigious.  Ed.]

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Not A Silent God… A prayer of thanksgiving and confession.

For presbyterian’s the burning bush is a great symbol of God speaking to his people.
it refelcts the fact that God listens, god responds, God calls and god saves his people
It is our churches symbol, this is the stainglass window at St Peter’s Ellerslie Mt Wellington

In 1 Corinthians 12:1-3 Paul talks to the Corinthians about the difference between the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ and dumb idols. The dumb idols can’t and don’t speak, but God can and does chose to speak, and he can and does chose to speak in and through his people. plug in gifts of the Holy Spirit which is what this chapter in scripture is known for.  The test for God’s word is whether it glorifies Jesus or not… 

This prayer is a reflection on the fact that we have a God who speaks and giving thanks for that.   
A God who speaks through creation, through the story of his dealing with his people, in new testament and old, who spoke in Jesus Christ the word made flesh, who speaks by the Holy Spirit’s presence in us and by the Holy Spirits enabling through us.  In return we speak to God, in praise in confession and in suplication. We speak and live to proclaim that jesus is Lord…

So feel free to pray this prayer, it’s designed for public worship so feel free to use any or all of it, if you find it helpful and encouraging, or none of it if you don’t. I’m always happy to learn and improve so if you’ve got some condtructive suggestions please leave a comment.

Loving God,

We thank you that you are not a silent God,

We are not left staring off into the void wondering.

Left without a clue as to how to make sense of it all

Rather you have revealed yourself to us.

Creator God

The truth is you spoke and it all came into being,

All of it made good and reflecting its makers glory

The night sky without words declares your greatness

We have no excuse- with clarity and understand from what you made

Holy God

We see how you have chosen and lead your people

You have given them the law, how to live and reflect your justice

You have spoken through your prophets, and good news speakers

Your timeless word timely given and preserved in the scriptures

Saviour God

In Jesus Your word become flesh

You spoke with a real voice, in human form

You spoke sacrificial love in the agony of the cross

And new life and hope as you rose from the Grave

Spirit of God, Holy and true

God’s word, Jesus Christ dwells in us, by your power

We hear God’s voice because we are filled with your presence

We now all we need of your truth and remember Christ’s words

By you we are strengthened, enabled to witness and to speak
God who is with us,

You speak to us through your people

The shared words from friend and family

Through apostle, prophet, evangelist, teacher and pastor

Spirit inspired Loving gesture and truth revealed

God who speaks with us

We come this morning and bring you praise

We confess our sin and ask for you to forgive

We ask you to fill us a new with your spirit

That in how we live and what we say we may proclaim ‘Jesus is Lord’ 

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Daily Meditation

What Is Meekness?

“Blessed are the meek, for they shall inherit the earth.” (Matthew 5:5)

John Piper

Meekness begins when we put our trust in God. Then, because we trust him, we commit our way to him. We roll onto him our anxieties, or frustrations, our plans, our relationships, our jobs, our health.

And then we wait patiently for the Lord. We trust his timing and his power and his grace to work things out in the best way for his glory and for our good.

The result of trusting God and the rolling of our anxieties onto God and waiting patiently for God is that we don’t give way to quick and fretful anger. But instead, we give place to wrath and hand our cause over to God and let him vindicate us if he chooses.  And then, as James says, in this quiet confidence we are slow to speak and quick to listen (James 1:19). We become reasonable and open to correction.

Meekness loves to learn. And it counts the blows of a friend as precious. And when it must say a critical word to a person caught in sin or error, it speaks from the deep conviction of its own fallibility and its own susceptibility to sin and its utter dependence on the grace of God.

The quietness and openness and vulnerability of meekness is a very beautiful and a very painful thing. It goes against all that we are by our sinful nature. It requires supernatural help.  If you are a disciple of Jesus Christ, that is, if you trust him and commit your way to him and wait patiently for him, God has already begun to help you and will help you more.

And the primary way that he will help you is to assure your heart that you are a fellow heir of Jesus Christ and that the world and everything in it is yours.

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The Underclass

Self-Propagating Violence

The underclass is alive, growing, and powerful.  It is self-perpetuating.  And here’s the thing about the underclass–no matter how prosperous or how sophisticated the house in which we were raised, anyone can fall right down to the lowest of the low within months, if not days.  All it takes is a little P, and hey presto, a life of theft, blackmail, violence–even murder–awaits.

Once in the underclass, sexual liaisons occur.  Children are born.  Most are raised consistently within the underclass’s culture.  Violence in the underclass is a way of life.  It is the normal way to live.  Once that happens, the Underclass becomes permanent; like a bacterial disease it self-perpetuates and multiplies.

Author Alan Duff understands this.

Bad Behaviour All About Race, Class and Culture

Alan Duff
NZ Herald

Seems I’m lumped again with stating the obvious: the dairy robbers, the brawling schoolgirls, the bank robber, the bungling non-alcohol wine thieves, are all brown. If we’re open about this then everyone can start addressing the problem knowing what we’re dealing with.

I’ll next say what should be said, that not a Maori or Pacific Islander I know behaves like these lowlifes. This is as much a class as race issue. Just we have to be honest about it. It’s also about education – not the formal kind so much as home education. It’s about culture.

These amoral hoods and incompetent robbers have never been taught to aspire to owning a dairy. No parent ever told them it is wrong to steal and more so from hard-working people just trying to make a living.

The fighting girls have never been taught about femininity; taking pride in one’s appearance, taught certain behavioural standards. Females brawling touches a nerve with me: I grew up with it. There is nothing uglier, or wrecking of a child’s sense of self-worth, than witnessing his/her mother brawling.

Just these girls caught so regularly on mobile phone video don’t know it. They think they’re just surviving in their do-eat-dog world when it is no such thing. Violence is destroying them long before they reach adulthood. The culture of violence is a cancer.

Once the underclass starts reproducing itself “normal” interventions usually fail miserably.  A stint in police cells or prisons simply reinforces the patterns of criminality and of violence.  Contrary to the normal interventions, the cycle can only be stopped one life at a time.  To be successful, it requires an army of volunteers to stop the life-cycles of the underclass and break the patterns of degradation.  It requires changes to hearts, minds, actions, thoughts, words, motives, and deeds.  In many cases it requires breaking away from whanau, or families–and all other networks connecting to the underclass.

Alan Duff attempts an explanation of why children are captured in the violence-cycle of the underclass:

As someone with life experiences of being on the wrong side, I’ve had a long time thinking about why some people behave like this. Seems to me it is anger first; of the direct kind growing up suffering abuse. The unconscious kind where you lash out without knowing why.  Kids grow up in homes where violence is a big part of conversation, who gave who a “good hiding”, who got “smacked over”, “got the bash for being too lippy”. They know the terms. You, average good reader, probably don’t. What, are they headed for university, to join the police force, become a teacher, get into business?

Nah, man. “Dunno what I’m gonna be when I grow up. Prob’ly in jail.” This is the type who walks into an Indian’s dairy brandishing a knife, a baseball bat, even a gun. He’s there, in part, because leadership failed him by not making parenting courses compulsory. That’s the Maori and Pacific Island leadership, and a bit of Government culpability, too. The latter a lot less guilty.

Where will the army of volunteers come from?  There is one institution ideally placed: Christian churches.  But all too often they are not welcome.  Why?  Because everything official must also be secular, or ought to be secular.  That’s the way New Zealand is these days–fiercely, militantly secular in state schools, institutions of government, and the bureaucracy.  That’s why the State prefers dolling out taxpayers’ money to solve the problem of the underclass, rather than encouraging an army of volunteers working with lawless, violent youth.  By dolling out money, the State can control or reinforce its secularist messages.  But by encouraging volunteers, it loses control.  What it also loses are some of the key truths or “messages” which those caught in the underclass need to be confronted with, if they are to climb back out of the sinkhole.

You know, simple messages.  You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, soul, strength and mind.  And you shall love your neighbour, as yourself.  Along with all the more common helps–such as learning to read, write, think, and speak properly.  But these things are only effective when they are transmitted face-to-face, life-to-life, heart-to-heart, and soul-to-soul.  It takes hours, both of structured and unstructured time.  That’s why an army of volunteers is required.  The State simply cannot afford to pay for what is required.  And if it could pay for it, miserable failure would result.  The culture of bureaucracy does not mix with the regeneration and retraining of souls.

Yeah, nah.  The gummint knows best.  Back off, you Christian God-botherers.

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time to stay steady


devotional post #2021

Luke 17:28-31

Luk 17:28 In the same way, just as it was in the days of Lot, people were eating, drinking, buying, selling, planting, building;
Luk 17:29 but on the day Lot went out from Sodom, fire and sulfur rained down from the sky and destroyed them all.
Luk 17:30 It will be the same on the day the Son of Man is revealed.
Luk 17:31 On that day, anyone who is on the roof, with his property in the house, must not come down to take them away, and in the same way the person in the field must not turn back.

time to stay steady

Lot’s wife is later mentioned by Jesus here, and her story informs the warning that Jesus gives. She was warned to flee Sodom, but turned back, and was turned into a pillar of salt. Jesus had been warning his disciples that there would be a long period of waiting before his second coming. They were to remain steady and committed to him during this time, and not be tied to the things of this world, so that they welcome him as soon as the clouds break and he appears in the sky.

LORD, show us how to remain unswervingly committed to you.


Pike River Re-Entry is Madness on Methamphetamines

Appeals to Pity Don’t Cut It

In New Zealand we have the sad spectacle of some ex-mining families on the West Coast of the South Island pressuring the government to allow a recovery party to enter the deadly Pike River mine, which killed 29 miners.  The mine is now sealed up.  The disaster happened in November 2010.  Only a few hard-core families are still insisting that society owes them the right of re-entry into the mine to recover the remains of their loved ones.  

The matter has been taken up by a few despicable politicians.  They are despicable because they profess all care for the families of the lost miners, but carry no responsibility if  new entrants to the mine were to die in the attempt.   Political hack, Winston Peters–always the child who lacked attention–is stirring things up, insisting that the family’s demands be met, and that people be sent down the mine.

The leader of the Labour Party, Andrew Little has joined Peters on this issue.  Both want a law change that would require Solid Energy to re-enter the mine.  Both want to make it an issue in the forthcoming election.  Bon chance to both of them.  It will entomb  their electoral chances more tightly than the Pike River mine.

A more knowledgeable scribe has written a piece in the NZ Herald exposing the hard realities.

Eternal Tombs Sad Fact of Disasters

Gerry Morris
NZ Herald

The dramatic release of 13 hours of underground footage by the police relating to the Pike River tragedy is more sad raking of the tragedy’s embers, instigated by a small minority of the 29 families.  Pike re-entry is a subject that has become highly charged on both sides of the argument, especially at political levels and across the country, with everyone seemingly having a view on a complex tragedy that has so many sad threads.

Nearly seven years on from November 19, 2010, global mining tragedies tell us emphatically the passage of time after an underground mining disaster markedly increases the complexity of victim recovery which in turn, decreases the probability of successful recovery. . . . It remains a sad fact that mining all over the world, in Australia, Europe, South Africa, the USA and China have underground mines as eternal tombs for victims of mine disasters. Strongman Number One mine near Greymouth is a tomb for two victims of the 1967 disaster that killed 19.

Some of the Pike victims’ families commissioned an experts’ report to support their case for re-entry and have lobbied hard to get this report accepted.  Prepared by United Kingdom coalmining experts, Dr David Creedy and Robert Stevenson, the report A method for safe reentry of Pike River Mine Drift, has been used to make the case for re-entry into the 2.3km stone access tunnel to the mine, known as the Drift.

The five-page UK report contrasts with the extensive bevy of reports commissioned by Pike’s owner Solid Energy, using New Zealand underground mining experts, and published in their hundreds of pages on their website.  Solid Energy’s work using extensive local knowledge, is perceived to be too conservative compared with the UK opinion. History repeats in a sense as on the day after the first explosion at Pike, on November 20, 2010, seven of the 13 New Zealand certificated underground mine managers were there ready to assist only to be sidelined by the government agencies.

Both sides partially agree, based on footage obtained by robots and borehole cameras, that structurally, the drift could be entered as it is likely to be in good condition for the first 2km, given the installed level of structural supports and roof bolts. Even after four explosions, it is likely to be intact.  From footage obtained from cameras inserted down boreholes near the in-bye end of the drift, damaged infrastructure from pipes and conveyor belts obstructing the roadway is seen up to 1m deep in places.

Compounding this is the methane rich, potentially explosive atmosphere in the drift that is the core problem for re-entry. The Pike Royal Commission identified the last working locations of the Pike 29 as beyond the drift, in the actual workings of the mine, beyond Spaghetti Junction, where a huge rockfall blocks access.  There is a belief that a group of miners were exiting the mine at the time of the first blast in an underground transporter, a Driftrunner, and maybe caught in the large rockfall at Spaghetti Junction, the point where the drift meets the mine workings.

One of the two survivors from Pike’s first explosion, Daniel Rockhouse, was within 500m of Spaghetti Junction and it is this stretch of the drift where the speculation is focused. There is no advocacy from the majority of Pike families to go beyond this point and enter the actual mine workings.

In addition to the gas ignition risk that would be caused by activity at the top end of the drift, a similar danger is the geological structure where the coal seam intersects with the stone drift.  The Hawera fault lies near where the seam starts adjacent to a known fall at Spaghetti Junction. Given the increase in earthquakes across the South Island there is significant stress on the adjoining strata.  The mine has been on fire at various stages and any form of re-ignition arising from re-entry activity into the drift, can not be dismissed. The UK experts say the workings have been gas-filled, therefore oxygen free for four years, which removes spontaneous combustion concerns, a view not shared by New Zealand experts.

In any analysis of the risk of re-entry at Pike, history reminds us of the many rescue workers killed attempting recovery of coalmine disaster victims. In a Pike-sized mine at Crandall Canyon in Utah in 2007, six miners were killed in the mine and 10 days later, three rescue workers were killed attempting recovery. The six miners remain entombed.  Like Pike, the Crandall Canyon inquiry found the mine was destined to fail because the company made critical miscalculations, and again like Pike, the US Department of Labour was faulted for lax oversight of the mine and mismanaging the failed rescue attempt.

The re-entry of the drift at Pike is recognised in mining circles globally, as not straightforward. The UK experts’ report commissioned by some of the Pike families, is full of unproven, hopeful assumptions.

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