Little bill to enable Pike River re-entry

After visiting the Pike River picket line today Andrew Little said he would table a bill in Parliament that would remove an obstacle to re-entry into the Pike River mine.

RNZ: Labour would remove liability for Pike River re-entry

Labour leader Andrew Little plans to table a bill in Parliament removing liability from the directors of Solid Energy so that the Pike River Mine can be re-entered.

He said the government claimed the mine could not be re-entered because of the liability risk, so on the first day of the new parliamentary year he would seek leave to table his bill.

That would exonerate Solid Energy’s directors from being held liable for any harm to people taking part in the mine re-entry, he said.

Mr Little said the victims’ families were promised everything that could be done to recover their loved ones’ bodies would be done, and the government needed to follow through on that.

This doesn’t guarantee re-entry, it would just remove one obstacle.

Little had earlier said that he supported an independent investigation to see if mine re-entry was safe enough to attempt.

He said that if the Government did not allow his bill to proceed he would add it to the Members’ ballot.

NZH: Labour leader Andrew Little proposes health and safety exemption for Solid Energy

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

“We can actually deal with that threat of liability for the [Solid Energy] directors by legislating to prevent that happening in this particular case.

“What I pledged to the families is that on the first day of Parliament I will seek leave to table a bill that does just that.”

He added: “It removes any risk of liability for the directors of Solid Energy in relation to any attempt at re-entry for the purpose of recovering remains or any bodies in the drift leading to the mine.

“And I’m working on that bill now, I’ll have that ready to go on the 6th of February.”

He won’t be tabling the bill on February 6, that’s a Monday and also a public holiday (Waitangi Day).

Speaking in Parliament last year, English said Pike River was the “most dangerous workplace in New Zealand“, and approving a re-entry would go against the very health and safety laws passed by Parliament in response to the disaster.

English said Little himself had lobbied for the safety changes.

“The member should understand the legislation which he advocated for, which brings together judgement about safety and legal responsibility for anyone in that workplace,” he said.

“So whatever any independent expert says, someone who is responsible for anyone who might go into that mine are legally responsibly for their lives.”

So Little is proposing an exception to the safety laws he lobbied for.

 

Leave a comment

16 Comments

  1. PDB

     /  18th January 2017

    Laws are there for everybody to abide by, you can’t decide to let some directors off liability and not others just because Little wants to make political mileage on this particular issue.

    If a party is sent into the mine and all die as a result I’m sure their families will take great solace in the fact the Directors won’t be culpable.

    Reply
    • I’ve just added to the post – Little wants a exemption to a safety law that he lobbied for.

      Reply
    • Gezza

       /  18th January 2017

      Another totally stupid idea – wtf is the point of this? Especially from the Workers Not The Bosses Party. Might as well start wearing the glasses again if this is the best he can do.

      Reply
      • PDB

         /  18th January 2017

        It will please the ‘gung-ho’ group that just want entry regardless of the hazards & anybody who just wants any stick to beat the govt with.

        To me it’s very simple – is there a professional consensus that the mine is safe to enter (NO), is going into the mine a possible risk to human lives (YES), is removing human bones or finding nothing in the mine worth this risk (NO), then don’t go in.

        Reply
  2. It could get complicated if some insisted that the remains of their family members were not disturbed.

    Reply
    • Kitty Catkin

       /  19th January 2017

      Indeed. It would be impossible to disturb some and not others. If they took out an injunction, that would settle it, wouldn’t it ?

      Reply
  3. There’s a sort of a similar issue now the search for MH370 has been called off – the wife of a victim is in the news saying they are angry about this. After 3 years and tens if not hundreds of millions of dollars have been spent trying.

    Reply
    • PDB

       /  18th January 2017

      Quite different in that the search for MH370 was not called off due to the safety concerns.

      Reply
      • If the plane was found then recovery would have safety issues.

        Reply
        • PDB

           /  18th January 2017

          Listening on the radio I think many of the families would just like to know where the plane ended up? No doubt others would want some sort of salvage operation.

          Reply
        • Brown

           /  19th January 2017

          The plane recovery would be centered on determining accident cause, not to bring “closure” to people in denial. The risks in the former, minor as they are, are worth it.

          I’m sick of this fixation with legislated safety – I’ll look out for me without it because its stupid not to do so. My hi viz does me no good if I get run over because I wasn’t watching.

          Reply
          • Kitty Catkin

             /  19th January 2017

            If there was no legislation, you could look out as much as you liked, you’d still be dead if there were no rules about workplace safety and you fell from a building because there were no standards for safety harnesses.

            Reply
            • Brown

               /  19th January 2017

              I’ll look after my own well being and don’t need a standard. I’ve been wandering about on all sorts of building roofs, ladders and scaffolds for years and in reasonable safety and without harnesses because I’m not stupid. You can’t legislate against stupidity and that’s what I saw most of. The idea is to think first, see the hazards and not trip over any of them – my safety is my primary concern and I’m not going to delegate that to others. There were times I did use sensible safety gear but it for specific site reasons where it was sensible.

            • Kitty Catkin

               /  19th January 2017

              How about road safety rules ? I would prefer to have those. I also don’t want to have appliances made with no minimum standards, still less cars. There are times when one can’t rely on one’s own cleverness, and as everyone probably thinks that they’re sensible, we need some standards. When I was on a stepladder recently, I would not have had to rely on my own knowledge to know if it had was safe to stand on. I wouldn’t use a dangerous one, but how would I know ?

  4. patupaiarehe

     /  18th January 2017

    IMHO, this needs to be ‘put to rest’. Anyone who wants to go in there, should be given the necessary training, and full BA. Make them sign a waiver, which makes it clear that nobody will go in & rescue them, if it all turns to shit.

    Reply
    • Kitty Catkin

       /  19th January 2017

      I agree. Anyone who wants to should be willing to DIY. It wouldn’t be right to expect some stranger to be willing to die for this if you are not willing yourself.

      Reply

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s