This week Andrew Little changed his commitments on Pike River, from seeking another expert report and “leave it for the experts”, but two days later said the experts say that safe re-entry can be done and he will make re-entry a priority as Prime Minister.
Little stands by his promise to seek another report by world-leading experts and make a decision on whether to re-enter the mine based on a third opinion.
To date the Government has a report saying it’s too dangerous while the Pike River families have their own report saying it’s safe.
In response to whether the findings of a third report would be treated as gospel, Little said, yes.
“I’m not going to give false hope to people but I’m not going to deny them realistic hope either.”
He said a third report would mean “you’ve got more experts than not saying what is practical to do”.
You’ve got to leave it for the experts and show respect to them.”
Little is clearly saying he would “leave it for the experts” and abide by a third report in making any decision.
However on Wednesday via the Labour website: Bill English needs to back Pike River Bill
Bill English has been hiding behind the legal excuse that any attempt to re-enter the mine to recover the bodies might place the mine’s owner, Solid Energy Limited, and its directors in breach of the Health and Safety at Work Act 2015.
“My Health and Safety at Work (Pike River Recovery) Amendment Bill removes that risk and, therefore, removes the excuse the Prime Minister is using to block recovery operations that international mining experts maintain are feasible and not unduly risky.
“I will be tabling the Bill on the first day of the new Parliamentary session on 7 February and I challenge the Government to back it.
“Bill English can’t hide behind this excuse unless there are other reasons he has for not wanting recovery to happen. He needs to front up and do the right thing for the families of the Pike River miners who have been waiting too long for their men to be returned.
“As I have said all along, Labour supports safe re-entry, which the experts say can be done. I want justice for the families who have suffered the worst workplace tragedy in decades.
“If New Zealanders choose to change the Government this year, re-entering Pike River will be a priority in my first hundred days as Prime Minister,” says Andrew Little.
This gives quite a different impression – that Little “supports safe re-entry, which the experts say can be done”, and ” re-entering Pike River will be a priority in my first hundred days as Prime Minister”.
Nothing in that about a third report and leaving it to the experts.