I just read an article written by John Armstrong on the TVNZ Website. You can view the article here.
Who put Mr Armstrong, up to this absolute rubbish? And why is Tax Payers money being wasted on articles such as these opinion pieces?
Mr Armstrong works for a State Owned Enterprise, (Government). And don't get me wrong I don't know him, and I don't know his work, Im not having a go at him, but that article is absolutely strange, I would have expected better from a Major Media outlet.
Mr Armstrong knows very well any re-entry into Pike River would need the responsibilities and accountability put onto the experts who are likely to enter the mine itself. They say it can be done safely so they need to take responsibility and accountability for that, if re-entry was to go ahead.
Mr Armstrong also states that "National is saying it will have no truck with Peters' bottom-line. There is thus no need for Labour to accept Peters' ultimatum which would see the major Opposition party paint itself into a corner." What an absolute load of Rubbish. Labour can not afford not to re-enter the mine. I'll explain why.
Labour CAN NOT, afford not to re-enter the Drift of Pike River. Labour has built in the past and was born from core values that include workers rights. If Labour walked away now it would have no show in winning election 2017 in my opinion. If Labour, can't stick up for the worker and give it a go what do they offer that's different to the current government? Labour needs to go back to its core values and support the working class. The worker needs protection and in times of need (such as the Pike River episode) then the workers need to know that something will happen and not have the issue swept under the carpet.
There is more at stake if the mine is entered (or just the drift) and serious flaws were identified as it would affect both parties, Labour approved the mine, and allowed it to be created in the first place, the mine was completed and entered as a working mine under Nationals watch. Then simply one Minister who approved re-entry.
With a lot of the areas of Labours original core values becoming ignored by both Labour and National it puts Labour in a dangerous position, if they don't do something about it. It's election year, now is the time to change that.
The real reason why National won't have entered the mine is because of the Owners of both Solid Energy, and the previous Company (Pike River Coal) are owned by large corporations, Financial Institutions, and have some Government control too (in Sold Energy) Any issues with workplace safety practises, design flaws, or any other such issues is likely to impact these organizations and in 2017 we can't have that now can we? Doesn't matter about the worker, or the workers family, as long as the large corporations are looked after.
Labour needs to take the risk. They need to be seen as supporting the worker and the working class, and they need to be looking like they are supporting small town rural New Zealand. What better way to do this then allow the re-entry to the Pike River Mine's Drift? It needs to be done simple as that.
For National, Non-Entry is likely to hurt them more than if they re-entered and something happened. This is solely my opinion and take it for what it is. But National has shown they have no compassion, and failure to enter the Mine, (amongst other things) will lead to this government being known for a compounding amount of broken promises. John Key, was messing with the families emotions, when he said he would do everything in his power to get the 29 Men home. He knew he had no interest in entering the mine. Yet he said others were that were supporting the families. It would of hurt his banking mates too much to do so. Putting the ownership of the Mine into Solid Energy ownership may have been wise for him, but all it is, is so the government can pass the buck onto someone else. Who is the majority Shareholder of Solid Energy? That's right the Government, all other shareholders are financial institutes. So money should not be a factor of any kind. Solid energy has a moral obligation to also re-enter the mine (or at least the drift)
To say that the plan has to be 100% safe is absolutely ridiculous, there's always an element of risk no matter how big or small. The attitude of "Unless such a mission was guaranteed to be 100 per cent safe - something which would be impossible to prove" is 100% unbelievably stupid (in Mr Armstrongs own words) If that's the case we may as well close everything down wrap ourselves in cotton wool (Hang on there could be a suffocation risk in that). Everything we do has an element of risk. There is no doubt there will be an element of risk. But can these risks be minimised or safely controlled? I believe they can be if the professionals say they can then I believe them more then some pen pusher that is sitting in a desk that has to justify spending.
Sealing the Mine with no attempt to re-enter in my opinion is suicide for this current government, especially if others are willing to give it a go or at least look at it.
I don't think its a matter of if, its a matter of when the drift will be re-entered.
I think this issue, along with housing, economy, education, Justice or injustices, will be make or break for election 2017.