Pike River recovery still just a maybe

Prime Minster Jacinda Ardern says a “thorough risk assessment will be undertaken.”

The Coalition government is setting up a new standalone department, the Pike River Recovery Agency, Te Kahui Whakamana Rua Tekau ma Iwa – but it still may not send anyone into the mine, where 29 miners died.

That decision to attempt to recover any bodies will be taken by the Minister Responsible for Pike River Re-entry Andrew Little after a technical assessment of the risks by his new agency.

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern says a “thorough risk assessment will be undertaken.”

“There will be risks – our job is to mitigate them and to weigh it up if there is an acceptable level of risk.”

The recovery is expected to be carried out by March 2019.

Asked if she was giving the families an “absolute guarantee” the mine will be re-entered, Ms Ardern says she is giving them “the commitment we are going to do everything within our power to try.”

She says safety is the priority and, if any information is uncovered that shows there are problems along the journey to re-entry, “we will work it through together.”

The prime minister reiterated that there “will be risks” but it’s the new agency’s job will be to mitigate them as much as possible and to weigh up the “acceptable level of risk.”

Asked if it wasn’t a Labour Party election commitment to re-enter the mine, she says that is what her “absolute ambition is.”

“Of course we have always had to maintain that there may be evidence we’re not aware of, there may be expert advice that throws up a counter view.”

She says if that happens, “we will work through that with the families together.”

She says that is a “major difference” between the position of her government and the past government.

Little to front decision
Mr Little is responsible for the new agency, which will have a contingency of $7.6 million a year through until 2021.

He says the agency will gather evidence to better understand what happened in 2010, with an eye to preventing future mining tragedies and to give the Pike River families and victims’ overdue closure and peace of mind.

 “The standalone department will ensure resources are not diverted to other activities, and will provide accountability to Parliament. The final decision on whether to re-enter the drift will be made by me, informed by expert advice from the agency.

“I have planned on the basis that the new agency will – depending on my decision – execute a plan for complete recovery of the drift by the end of March 2019. Exact timing will depend on technical assessments.”

 “The families and the government are going into this with eyes wide open. We agree the decision about manned re-entry must be based on a technical assessment of the risks and advice that risks can be reasonably made."

Mr Little says the plan means there is no need to make any changes to work safety legislation.


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22 Comments & Questions

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Forgive me but if it will be finished by 2019 why does the funding go through till 2023?
Oh and pre Election it was a given and now it’s a not so sure?

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For $22.8m just what the heck is the agency tasked with. Lets be honest ther are enough reports around that can be read and there has been assessment after assessment as to the safety of these entry. here is what's 2 mine recovery experts $150K each 2 engineers $150K each and 4 miners $100K each and 4 family members $50K each. A large office tea coffee and lunch phones etc $50k. $1,25M Job done. Now of the remaining $6.35m (1 year costs only) Offer up a reward of $500K each for 4 miners to enter the mine to do the search. They sign indemnity against any accident and should they not return payment id to the family with an additional $500K. Of course there will be 5 entering as Winston said he will lead.
Lets have this done by March 2018.
Its simple, yes?

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Wee emotional play then drop and to the next shiny toy
Come on Winnie -- in you go

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At $23M we could have had another flag referendum. And how many kids in poverty would that feed for a whole year? Hip replacements? Rounds of IVF?

But anyway it doesn't really matter, nor does it really matter if their remains are recovered or not. What matters is that it's a NZF- Labour Government doing this, and possibly saying no on safety grounds after they have read the reports. That's the difference and that makes it ok. But if a National Government says no after reading those reports then that is not on. The Torries are just out for themselves and butt covering and not spending the money just to make the books look good.

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Mr Peters will be disappointed if the mine entry doesn't go ahead. Or relieved!

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Winston's got no intention of going into the mine! For the last 6 months he's been training his canary to play dead.

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Great pic of Ardern whistling dixie on yet another issue

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I read someone referred to Miss Ardern ,as" Cindy Astern" . Sums up the Pike River caper. Up to now that place has delivered a treasure house of votes for the "Coalition of Fear",led by Peters and Ardern, they certainly milked it au nausem.
Now true to form and the track record of both,especially Labour and Ardern, a massive flip flop again.

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This is set to be a mess, if the re-entry contravenes the Health & Safety act does this then set a legal precedent?, i almost think they should go in by stealth and get it over and done with

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Correct. No pun intended but, government is caught between a rock and a hard place, hoist by their own petard. They can bob, weave, wiggle and squirm but they can not go into the mine without overcoming significant legal hurdles and. good luck with that. For heavens sake, just let it go everyone and let these poor men rest in peace.

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$23M replete with its own lumbering bureaucracy. My sympathy for the deceased families evaporated quite some time ago. There's nothing to recover from that conflagration.

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Wonder do the "Coalition of Chaos " think NZs voters and Public heads are made of chocolate. What a cop out on their election campaign.
Almost borders on denial and corruption.
Where is Peters Now. Didn't he say him and Miss Ardern would enter the mine after the election. Maybe election 2023,just maybe.
The NZs voter have totally been sold a corrupt bill of sale. What an indictment,of our "electoral " system. I think the whole election campaign was a complete farce,and an insult to honest hardworking NZs who deserved a lot more than what has been dished up them,with the Pike River fiasco.
It is no fluke when Readers Digest places politicians on the botton rung of professions.
Starting to think there really is a special place in Hell for some Politicians.

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I also wanted to add, how about using this $23M of taxpayers money to help the living and not the dead? To use the charred corpses of these 29 men for political purposes, is just obscene. They cannot be helped. What part of that do our politicians not understand??

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The voters who supported Jacinda and Winnie on this issue got conned.

The families who were given false hope got conned.

There are now 4 greatest lies.

1: “I’ll respect you in the morning.”
2: [Censored by Samuel]
3. “The Cheque is in the Mail.”

And now:

4. “Re-entry into the mines would be non-negotiable”. yeah right!

Which makes Winston ( and Jacinda ) big fibbers in order to buy votes.

As someone has already said it could all be over and done with by early next year. But of course I bet they never intended to follow through. If they did, equipment would be being assembled onsite as we speak. After it was campaigned as an urgent issue. And nature will be decomposing what is left of the bodies.

My pick is that an ‘experts’ decision on safety will either prevent entry, or final decision postponed by the cash cow committee until after the next election. The result being what National has said all along, that it is unsafe. It was always going to be better to leave the mine sealed and move on.

For 200+ million, the experts will say what ever you pay them to say. It would be better to give the families of the miners 8 million a piece. You can get a lot of closure for that kind of money. Far better than DNA remains scattered all over the place. There won’t be much left as decomposition will take its toll.

NZ, you’ve been conned. When will you learn that the promises that Winnie made will be dishonored. Using people’s grief and need for closure as a political football to buy votes is despicable and the lowest of the low.

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The 200+ million was a typo, should read 20+ million

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SHAME on the government, abusing tax payers money like they won the lottery.

Re-entering this death trap will not bring anything, will cost a lot and put people's live at risk for no good reason.

Use the money of helping the homeless people of Auckland, feed the poor kids for a year or give all NZ-ers 6 NZD!!!!

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Do you guys really believe there is a Minister (or anyone) insane enough to risk their career, by giving the all clear and having one of those that re-enter coming back out dead on a stretcher?
NAH This is a "committee" of sinecure positions to reward the faithful and quieten the clamour of the West Coast hoi po loi and their "sympathisers".
Suck it up taxpayer. You lose, again. *sigh*

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Labour promises the world when in opposition. Now in power, that all goes out the window. Older voters will have seen it happen many times in the past. Younger ones are only now finding that out. I'm waiting to hear one of their favorites from the past. "Oh we costed that, and found that it was going to be too expensive, so we're not going ahead with it." Labour, so full of it.

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AFAIK there was a thorough risk assessment done re mine re-entry and it was deemed too risky.

It's not like they didn't try, they send the robots and had risk assessments done by different parties for a manned re-entry.

Prior to the election Labor pretty much promised that they were going to re-enter the mine. I thought OK maybe they have some guys there that are willing to risk their lives and take on the task.

It was a sad disaster but as a country we need to move on from this and accept the situation. The mine is sealed, let those men rest in peace.

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So those golf shots with Obama are looking quite classy this week...

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Miners enjoy a unique bond, a comradeship and a brotherhood, the likes of which can only be truly appreciated by those who work in hazard occupations, where in certain situations, their very own lives can be comprised and/or saved, by those with whom they work.

To perish within the bonds of such a brotherhood is a passing to be envied, not lamented. Far better to be laid to rest with your mates and to make this mine a national memorial, than to have political ghouls and grave robbers rummage through your fragmented bones and what might be left of your carcass, only to have them re-interred in some lonely, overgrown cemetery, where these individuals will collectively be forgotten with the passage of time.

The families and the politicians should let these entombed men and their souls, rest in peace, and allow their spirits to dance and laugh together for all eternity, cradled deep in the bosom of this beautiful country called New Zealand.

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I agree with your last paragraph. Unfortunately I think it's more about the families of these dead men being in the spotlight. Something that has become more popular with the masses these days.

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