Another broken promise | The Jackal

11 May 2012

Another broken promise

Today, the National party reported:

The Government welcomes the confirmation today of the conditional sale of the Pike River Coal Mine assets to Solid Energy, the Minister of Energy and Resources, Phil Heatley, said tonight.

“The sale, conditional on a number of mostly procedural matters including transfer of the mining permit, is a positive step towards determining the future of resource development at the mine,” he said.

“The Government’s expectations on body recovery haven’t changed. Solid Energy will be expected to take all reasonable steps to recover the remains of the men in the Pike River mine in conjunction with any commercial mining at Pike River in future, provided such an operation is safe, technically feasible and financially credible.

Well there seems to be a number of excuses for not recovering the bodies of the 29 men who died in the November 2010 mining disaster. There is also a question as to what exactly financially credible actually means?

It's not until you read the agreement between Solid Energy and National (PDF) that you learn the miners bodies will only be recovered if the mine is reopened, which may not occur for several or more years if at all. Financially credible refers to the mining operation being profitable enough to bother reopening it.

The Government acknowledges that if mining operations do not proceed, whether for safety, technical feasibility or commercial reasons, it is highly unlikely that the men's remains would be recovered.

John Key had promised the families of the deceased miners that the government would do all it takes to recover the bodies and money was no object. Todays announcement breaks that assurance and makes John Key's words mean nothing.