There, fixed it for you

by Whaleoil staff on December 8, 2018 at 9:00am

The Labour party posted the following on their facebook page…

#TodayInHistory A major milestone for New Zealand. Who remembers this?


In New Zealand, (as the Labour party well know) we do NOT elect our Prime Minister we elect the party or parties that form the government. Thanks to the Whaleoilphotoshopping team we were able to fix this inaccuracy for them…


It was the Nats that did it… ???

by Christie on December 8, 2018 at 8:30am

Winston Peters is trying to blame the previous government for signing New Zealand up to the UN’s Global Compact on Migration, claiming that the whole process was initiated in 2016.

Nice try Winston, but no chance.

Stuff reports: quote.

Foreign Affairs Minister Winston Peters has criticised National for attacking a United Nations pact on migration, which he says the party initiated in 2016.

This week National leader Simon Bridges said if his party was in government, it would pull out of the UN’s Global Compact on Migration because of what he saw as its potential to restrict New Zealand’s ability to set its own migration and foreign policy.

He called on the Government to outline its position on the intergovernmental negotiated agreement, which is set to be signed in Morocco next week.

Peters told Parliament on Thursday that Cabinet had not yet made a decision on the now-controversial pact, which was the result of a process National began in Government in 2016. end quote.


First of all, kudos to Simon Bridges for two things here. First, he says National doesn’t want a bar of the UN’s Pact. Good. Secondly, by saying that a National government would pull out of it, he has brought the issue to the attention of the public and the media, who have studiously ignored the subject, even though the pact is to be signed in a week’s time. Once again, the sycophantic media have avoided the hard questions, and it was left to the leader of the opposition to bring these question to the fore. Good on Simon Bridges for that. quote.

“We are dealing with a compact process that was signed up to by the then National Party in December 19, 2016 … committed New Zealand to signing the New York Declaration for Refugees and Migrants and to have the process of time going forward to this time in 2018,” Peters said. end quote.

Don’t let the facts get in the way of a good story, will you Winston? National did not sign up to anything in 2016. quote.

National’s Foreign Affairs Spokesman Todd McClay asked Peters if he was aware the agreement made no distinction between legal and illegal migration and called for restrictions on freedom of speech and the media.

Peters said he had studied the allegations, which had been made by some countries around the world and some people in a worldwide campaign, very carefully.

“Both those allegations are demonstrably false,” he told the House. end quote.

Not true here either, Winston. You are just making it up. quote.

Outside the House, McClay rejected any suggestion National had signed up to an agreement in 2016 that had led to this pact.

He said an agreement had gone through the UN that New Zealand had not spoke out against, but had not actively signed up to – only 15 countries had.

“We didn’t attend the meetings. All countries in the UN allowed it to go through. It was open for signature, the National Government did not sign it – Peters is wrong, but that happens often.” end quote.

Yes, but the real question here is not what the previous government did – or did not do – in 2016. The big question is – what is this government going to do about this pact now? quote.

“The one that is before Cabinet has been negotiated by his Government. A lot of New Zealanders have the same concerns that Australia, the United States, and more than 15 other countries do, the Government shouldn’t be signing this, it commits the Government to doing things that are not in our interests.” end quote.

What is Winston’s modus operandi here? By blaming the previous government for supposedly signing us up to the deal, does this mean that the Labour-led coalition government is going to sign it?

That is what it sounds like to me.

How on earth could Winston, who has been anti-immigration for as long as anyone can remember, ever consider signing up to this?

The fact that the government has not condemned the pact for the damage it would do to member country’s sovereignty, is telling enough.

Photoshopped image credit: Luke

Everyone knows that Jacinda, and her puppet master, Helen Clark, would want to sign the pact, which basically allows all migrants to country shop and turns migration into a human right. How can Winston even consider signing up to something like this?

I’m not sure there is any other way of interpreting Winston’s movements here. To me, it appears that the government is going to sign New Zealand up to this treasonous pact and then he is going to blame National for it.

Winston’s treachery really does know no bounds. His reasoning, however, is harder to fathom. Surely Winston is too old for a job at the UN? So what else has he traded for agreeing to this?

Whatever it is, you can bet your sweet life that it will be beneficial to Winston himself, but if he really is selling New Zealand out to the UN, then this time he really has gone too far

Our most vulnerable are being betrayed by this government

by Max Sky on December 8, 2018 at 11:30am

A new report has suggested that decriminalising drugs should earn the Government half a billion dollars in benefits.

The recent cry from the New Zealand MSM to increase the alcohol drinking age to twenty whilst an ex-prime minister encourages legalisation of the sale of marijuana, and then the Coalition of Losers compensating meth users for being evicted from State housing while government agencies attempt to eradicate cigarette smoking, have me questioning the irrational, contradictory edicts and the real underlying intentions of our government.

The repudiation of our historical Christian foundations and moral precepts may have harmful repercussions to vulnerable children and adults, yet the ‘Progressive Left’ reject those principles on the spurious grounds that it would actually ‘protect the most vulnerable’.

‘Progressive’ cultural changes have undermined respect for the absolute rules that constrain how people behave.

‘Progressive’ policies damage the family unit by encouraging ‘lone parenting’ whilst discouraging marriage and denigrating men.

Being the child of a fatherless family since age 8 years, I was quite oblivious and happy and fortunately I had the benefit of excellent teachers as male role models. Now, as a man in my later years, I can perceive the misery of some children living under the yoke of a fatherless system which can lead to crime, educational underachievement or dropping out, alcohol and drug addiction and early pregnancy. These dysfunctional attitudes will then be handed down to the next generation.

Added to the problem of the fatherless family, we now have in some Western left-wing countries the official attitude that the use of drugs should be ‘managed’ rather than reduced.

The attitude of ‘harm reduction’ by decriminalisation of some drugs is being pushed despite the potential for young persons and adults to become enslaved to them. Legalising some drugs may encourage the risk takers, the dysfunctional and the vulnerable to try the more dangerous illegal drugs.

Managing addiction by legalising more drugs, rather than reducing addiction, is harmful. If marijuana needs to be legalised, do it by allowing the pharmaceutical companies to develop scientifically legitimate, FDA approved, marijuana-derived medications to alleviate definite medical symptoms.

If we don’t do that then legalisation is nothing more than tax gathering and socialist control.

Now, in a similar way, we face the prospect of the UN controlling our immigration levels. If they get it wrong, will we be allowed to deport terrorists or criminals for our protection? Or will their possible jeopardy if they are deported be prioritised over ours?

We have a government which seems intent on taking away our dominion while betraying our most vulnerable.

Whaleoil Transcript: Mike Hosking & Jacinda Ardern on the Coastal Pacific train, Formula E, Sroubek, Louisa Wall, the pride parade & whether Santa is male

by Suze on November 28, 2018 at 10:00am

Newstalk ZB


Good morning, how was that train the other day?


Good morning. Aah, it was fantastic. I haven’t been on the aah… the Coastal Pacific before but to see it back up and running again was fantastic. What’s really incredible as you travel along the journey you can see the extent of the aah… the land slips, the amount of… ah… civil engineering, ah… genius that has had to be applied to getting the train back on the track.  You can see why it won an international civil engineering award.


Exactly, and deservedly so and when you look at the projects they beat, it is an extraordinary thing.  Having said that, and that is not a criticism at all, the $40 million you handed out, is that a genuine investment as opposed to a subsidy?


No, absolutely, it is an investment. Kiwi Rail, absolutely, we have… we have responsibility for, and what… what we’re wanting to do in the region is a boost for tourism is to increase the frequency of that… aah… of that service. It’s running seven months of the year, this boost will enable it to run all year round. It will enable extra capacity to built into the service, it will bring in a premium service, you will know from tourism offerings that aah… rail services internationally often offer that level of service and we don’t have that currently so we will um… upgrade the reservation service, um, upgrade three stations, ah, to cope for that extra capacity and um… involve a bit of marketing for the service.




Good. Do you know about us getting the rights to the Formula E race in Auckland?


Ah, no.


Right. So, we’ve won the rights. Do you know what Formula E is?


In… in… not in great detail.


So, it’s like Formula One except that it’s for electric cars and it’s a growing form of motor racing.


I could have assumed (laughs).


We have won the right to host one of the races and they’ve been in touch with people like James Shaw and Grant Robertson and stuff like that. They want fourteen….


What year?


Um, next year, end of next year.


Right, right.  All things manageable, 2021 is quite busy.


Next year you want to be on board because we have beaten Australia to this and all the manufacturers are into this because electric is the future of the… the um… future of transport…


I bet it is! Have you driven one yet?


No, I haven’t driven one. Oh, I’ve driven an electric car but not a racing car. Anyway, they need $14 million and $14 million from the government brings in $150 million in terms of investment and messaging and branding and marketing and all that sort of stuff.  Why don’t you give it to them?


Ah, I couldn’t answer that here and now given you’ve been briefing me life as we speak on this particular scenario. Um… that imagine… I imagine that they would probably be making pitches for the major events fund that we have available. And there always assess… you know what’s the benefit to NZ in the same way that we did for…. for instance, for the America’s Cup.  How much… how much the Crown puts in versus how much it generates for the economy.  So, we often factor in those… those different elements but I couldn’t… I couldn’t answer….


No, I didn’t expect a commitment to be honest.  But 14… 14 for 150 return is not bad, do you not think?


Mmm.. yeah… well, look on paper, but I wouldn’t want to give any expectations on the radio without even having looked into it…


Karel Sroubek. When do we get an announcement from Mr Lees-Galloway?


It’ll be very soon.  Um… I got asked this at post-cab yesterday. It’ll be very soon.


This week?


Ah, that would be… that would be my expectation.


Was the minister, now that you’ve got it all back on your desk and everybody’s been briefed and everybody’s been looked into, was the minister been misled, or short of information?


He’s always said in the public…. I am not going into too much detail before we put it out there publicly because we are still finalising, still finalising some of the… the… the legal details, but as I’ve always said there was contradictory information in the public domain versus what was put before the minister. That was the whole point of immigration going back over… ah… the case, and going back to Sroubek’s lawyer, but as I say, we will be able to share more detail on that very soon.


Do you still have confidence in him?


Yes, I do.


Aaah… so, he’s not losing his job?


No, he’s not.


Is Sroubek getting booted out of the country?


I’m not commenting on that until we finally announce the final outcome of the case.


Well, when you’ve just said finalising the legal details that indicates to me that… ah… when legal details need to be finalized things are changing within…


You can draw any inference that you would like on that…


Well, well the guys in jail.  As with residency, nothing needed to change if you are not going to do anything, if you’ve got lawyers involved you are looking to boot him out.


And that was always… that… we always made that clear. There was a period where… ah… through the information through Sroubek’s lawyer. So, lawyers have always been involved in this for… for a little while now.


If you try to boot him out and they go to court, which… which they will, and that incurs more cost does that not put pressure back on Lees-Galloway’s original decision?


Well, again I am not going to do is jeopardize any elements of this case until we have finalised it and put it out.  You can ask me that question next week.


Okay, well I will of course. Having said that, can I wrap it up this way.


Of course. I’ll look forward to it.


Can I wrap it up this way, are you satisfied with what you’ve decided and what will be announced?


Aaah… one… the final outcome, ah… we’ll stand by, but I also need to make sure, Mike, that looking forward… aah… in the way that we handle, aah… these individual cases, which are complex, I am not particularly satisfied with the process that’s been applied, ah over a number of years now, for successive governments, so there’s no politics in that, it’s just when I look at the way that… the position that we put ministers in… I think we could do it better. And so, I will be looking at that as well.


Is Louisa Wall guilty of hate speech?


No, no.


Should be… should she be saying things like ‘I don’t want any f****g TERFS at the pride parade?


Don’t think the language is language… um… that I would endorse, and I think Louisa would probably um… you know… would have some regret over that… over that element but… um… look, she was… was sharing a view around… aah…  around trans-gender rights… um… and, look that’s… she’s absolutely free to express that.


What do you make has happened… of what has happened over the pride parade given that was your old patch?


Oh, well… central… central Auckland… aah… so… I… I… have for many years joined the pride parade and it’s… yeah… it’s always been a celebration a really inclusive affair. For me though this is a matter that really is for the organisers. And I’ve… I’ve… I haven’t haven’t waded into this… I don’t think it is for me to be an arbiter who does… and isn’t involved in the parade… so, that for me… is something for the organizers to deal with.


Have you heard from the Americans directly on Huawei?


Aaah… those issues are not something that would come to be me… um… aah… necessarily directly. If you are asking me whether it’s been raised at that level, with me directly… no it hasn’t, um… but I would give the same answer that I’d given in public um… that we have… aah… um…. a strong legislative framework… um… through what’s called our ticks of legislation that’s been around since 2014, from memory, that allows us to go through a process of analysing aah… the details of any application that affects our network. It’s a good way to operate, it means that we check off all the national security concerns with any application.


Is Santa male?


(Laughs) That’s what I’ve always been brought up to believe.

Recording ends.

KiwiBuild costings underestimated by $18 billion

Documents show KiwiBuild will cost 10 times more than what Labour calculated and announced in Opposition.

The cost of Housing Minister Phil Twyford’s flagship housing scheme KiwiBuild has been woefully underestimated, National Party Leader Simon Bridges says.

“Documents released to National show KiwiBuild will cost 10 times more than what Labour calculated and announced in Opposition. This raises serious questions about the credibility of KiwiBuild.

“Earlier this year the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment (MBIE) advised Mr Twyford that the $2 billion budget was only enough to build 1,000 houses a year under Labour’s original model.

“But Labour has promised it would build 10,000 homes a year by the end of its first term in office. Rather than increasing the budget 10-fold, Labour has shifted the policy from KiwiBuild to KiwiBuy and is underwriting private developers to build the houses for them.

“Labour had nine years in Opposition to come up with policies. It’s unbelievable that one of its flagship policies that it campaigned on in the election was miscalculated by such a huge amount.

“We’re not talking about a small error, Labour underestimated its flagship housing policy by $18 billion dollars.

“Taxpayers are forking out for a housing subsidy scheme for middle to high income earners.

“This adds to the headaches KiwiBuild is already causing the Government. Houses are not being built in the right places, at the right size, for the right price, which means they’ll have to be sold for less than what the Crown paid for them.

“MBIE also advised there was a high risk that there won’t be enough buyers for the KiwiBuild homes the Government is underwriting. This is clear already with one of the first ballots for a KiwiBuild home already extended due to a lack of interest.

“MBIE expects the cost of the underwriting scheme to go into the hundreds of millions, or possibly billions, over the next 10 years. This is a huge under-estimation from the Government.

“KiwiBuild hasn’t been properly thought through and it’s costing taxpayers millions more than first announced.”

6 Handy Andy shifts dirt like nothing else can

by idbkiwi on November 21, 2018 at 9:30am

Ya gotta hand it to Handy Andy, he knows not what he knows, what he knew was all new, he had altogether no idea but knew all about it, all at the same time, except he didn’t but did…

I’ve no idea, but suspect it wasn’t just Andy’s nose growing during this interview:

Guyon Espiner:

Yeah, but, as head of the EPMU with members who were in this mine who were reporting safety incidents at the time, reporting over a thousand of them, [1,083 incidents] did you know about any of these safety issues when you were head of the EPMU?

Andrew Little:

Not until afterwards, not until after the, uhm…


Guyon Espiner:

So why not?

Andrew Little:

After the investigation was happening, and uhm…

Guyon Espiner:

“Why not?”

Andrew Little:

Well I don’t, you know we had, the union had, roughly 50,000 members at the time, uhm, so I don’t get, ah, I don’t get detailed reports on everything happening at every work site. I have to say that Pike River was well on, ah, my radar because from members that the union had at other mining sites, including Solid Energy mining sites and other underground mining sites in the area, that there were was word that Pike River mine was well behind schedule, there was financial pressure on the company, the guys were under pressure, there were questions about, ah, the guys being sent underground and their level of experience and…

Guyon Espiner:

Yeah, but you didn’t say that at the time though, did you; Minister? You didn’t say that! You said it was no different to any other mine and you said it had a very good health and safety committee that had been very active and that there had been nothing until now that alerted us to that.

Andrew Little:

Yes, because that was, that was what I was advised at the time.

Guyon Espiner:

(Long sigh)…


Handy Andy: Shifts stories like no other.

Do we need to read between the lines?

by WH on November 20, 2018 at 8:30am


TVNZ posted an interview segment with Ardern and Peters recorded at the APEC summit in Port Moresby.

Ardern: Quote.

Our relationship is unique, I think we have a role to play in working alongside our Pacific counterparts to ensure that, actually, a whole range of global players understand some of the significant challenges here and we work to raise the profile of those be it with China, be it with the EU, be it with the UK. End quote.

I tried reading between the lines but there was nothing there either.  What are these ‘significant challenges’?  We don’t know, as we weren’t told.

Of course, our relationship (to whom or what?) is unique; just like every other country’s relationship is unique.

So Ardern looked to Peters who took up the dialogue:


Peters: Quote.

In times of uncertainty and potential economic chaos as a result of a conflict between the Chinese and the United States, nevertheless there is an enormous opportunity arises from the fact that other countries are looking at New Zealand with fresh eyes now and that’s dramatic, whether it be Vietnam, whether it be Indonesia, whether it be countries like Brunei. All of a sudden they have got a different perspective about New Zealand and some of the things that go back to this country’s long term character and integrity when it comes to the Pacific is starting to show through so I think that is something I wouldn’t have seen before and I’m seeing it now and I think it offers us enormous opportunity to have a far more profound influence in the shape of the Pacific than we hitherto have had. End quote.

Peters’s opening statement, “In times of uncertainty and potential economic chaos as a result of a conflict between the Chinese and the United States,” just hangs there unfinished.

We are then told that it is dramatic that other countries are looking at us with fresh eyes. Why? Are they thinking of mounting an invasion?

They could well have a different perspective about New Zealand now. They could see us as being led by a dysfunctional bunch in Wellington for all we know from Peters’ statement.

Photoshopped image credit: Technomage

Was anything really said by either of them?

Was APEC a bust, diplomatically?

After Ardern’s meeting with the PNG Prime Minister was cancelled, Ardern said that, if she were able to have spoken with Mr O’Neill, she would likely have raised the issue of female representation in the PNG government.

Was Ardern hoping to export some of ours? Or was she going to speak from a position of strength with her party having 14 men and 5 women ministers? We will never know because the meeting was canned.

I guess we will have to read between the lines.

Government policy causes rising rents

by Christie on November 20, 2018 at 9:00am

Times are tough for renters. Rents are rising faster than just about anything else right now, and have been doing so for some time. The previous government did make a few changes to make life more difficult for landlords, but the current government is going all out to improve the lives of tenants. As is always the case, the law of unintended consequences kicks in at some point, and that well-meaning government policy is now making life much harder for tenants because those policies aimed to help tenants are in fact forcing landlords out of the market in droves.

A newspaper reports: quote.

Renters are spending an average of $30 more on rent each week compared to a year ago, with the National Party blaming Government policies that are hitting landlords.

In some regions such as Wellington, figures from the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment show that rents have jumped by nearly $50 a week compared to a year ago, meaning tenants are paying close to $2600 more a year in living costs.

The National Party says it is a far greater rate of increase than under the previous Government, when rents rose by an average of $13 a year. end quote.


This government fails to recognise that private landlords are providing an important social service for free. Instead of the constant landlord bashing policies, the government should be providing incentives to landlords, such as subsidised insulation. But no. Landlords are fat cats and must be punished at every opportunity. quote.

“This Government prides itself on being kind, but these rent rises will really be hurting people, especially at the bottom,” leader Simon Bridges said.

When the government changed last year, the mean weekly rent in Auckland was $536. It has now jumped to $555.

But the biggest rent rises are in Wellington, Hawke’s Bay, and Manawatu-Whanganui, where rents rose by just under $50 in the last year. In National’s nine years in charge, rents rose by an average of between $6 and $10 a year in these spots.

Rents rose at a greater rate in all regions except Northland and Christchurch in the past year compared to when National was in charge. end quote.

And there is more nasty stuff on the way for landlords, with the requirement of the installation of fixed heating appliances and for pets to be allowed without landlord discretion. Having seen what a cat or a dog can do to a property if they are not properly controlled, I think that would be a deal breaker for me. The landlord owns an asset which the tenant is free to wreck. How this can ever be seen to be good policy is beyond me. quote.

Bridges blamed a series of Government policies which penalised landlords.

The Government has banned foreign buyers, introduced stricter standards for insulation and heating, got rid of “loss ring fencing” for landlords, and extended the period which investors have to pay tax on resold properties from two years to five years after purchase.

Bridges said the measures had a cumulative effect, forcing landlords to either lift their rents or get out of the rental market – reducing the rental stock. end quote.

There is an error in the above quotation. This government has not ‘got rid of loss ring fencing for landlords’. It is introducing ring fencing of losses. quote.

The rent rises would hurt lower income tenants the most. He noted that the number of hardship grants had risen by 54,000, or 19 per cent, in the past year.

Ministry of Social Development data shows that this increase is mostly due to greater demand for assistance with food. end quote.

Yes because, once the rent is paid, there is no money left over. It’s obvious when you think about it. quote.

Housing and Urban Development Minister Phil Twyford said he was concerned about rent increases, but said it was due to inaction by National when they were in power.

“Reserve Bank research shows that rents are driven primarily by supply and demand, not landlord costs. Our Government inherited a dire shortage of housing around the country after the former government ignored the housing crisis.” end quote.

Nine years of neglect, eh, Phil? quote.

“National saying that landlords are selling up is simply scaremongering. Corelogic data shows that landlords purchased 38 per cent of properties in October, which is consistent with the last two years – there has been no change in landlord activity.” end quote.

This is my favourite bit. It shows what an idiot he is. So the number of investment properties bought has not changed markedly but how many have been sold? I think you will find that a lot of former rental houses have been sold in the past 2 years. Are all those investment properties recently purchased being rented out to local tenants, or are some of them to be rented out on AirBnB? Conveniently, these points are not raised. quote.

He noted Government policies to increase housing supply, from KiwiBuild to the goal of 6400 more public houses over the next four years. end quote.

Kiwibuild is intended for first-time buyers struggling to afford their first home… oh. Scratch that. They can rent them out now. I had forgotten about that little policy change. As for 4,600 new public houses in the next 4 years, I understand the waiting list for public housing is already in excess of 6,000 so that problem is not going away. In the meantime, people still need somewhere to live.

Rents are going to keep increasing, because the government has more landlord-bashing policies lined up. Firstly, they have banned letting fees, so that the cost of a property manager finding a tenant will have to be passed onto the landlord. Next, they are looking at allowing rent increases only once a year. So, if I were a landlord, I would make sure the annual rent increase is a hefty one. Life will just get harder and harder for tenants in private housing.

Cindy forgot about global climate change (don’t tell the Greens)

by Suze on November 19, 2018 at 10:30am

ACT leader David Seymour said Cindy was so hasty to shell out millions for Papua New Guinea’s electricity rollout that she forgot her commitment to fighting global climate change. Quote.

The Prime Minister today announced taxpayer funding for Papua New Guinea’s National Electrification Rollout Plan, which aims to increase electricity access to 70 per cent of households by 2030

PNG is overwhelmingly reliant on oil, gas and coal for its energy needs. Its government is actively ramping up coal exploration and an Australian company was given the green light to extract coal earlier this year.

“While her Government has banned offshore exploration of oil and gasdomestically, today Jacinda Ardern committed to hooking more Papua New Guineans up to fossil fuels.” End of quote.

We can only hope Cindy’s amnesia lasts long enough for our oil and gas and mineral exploration to recover from her recent vicious body blow to them.  If it’s good enough to spend taxpayer funds on fossil fuels in a foreign country, it’s good enough for Cindy to revisit her stance back home.  Quote.

New Zealand Now

The PM claims that climate change is her generation’s ‘nuclear-free moment’, but her policies are helping countries like Indonesia and Papua New Guinea develop their fossil fuels.

Genesis Energy recently ordered 120,000 tonnes of Indonesian coal, and now the Government is actively promoting the development of fossil fuels in Papua New Guinea.

Does the Government simply have no coherent vision, or is it trying to have it both ways?” End of quote.


Or is it simply a case of jet lag or baby brain that she doesn’t understand that banning oil and gas exploration here simply costs us more and shifts production overseas? Quote.

Just as the Prime Minister can’t work out whether she wants petrol prices to go up or down, she is deeply conflicted about whether cheap fossil fuels are necessary for economic growth and higher living standards

In helping to promote economic development in PNG, she is pretending that she hasn’t staked her reputation on fighting climate change.” End of quote.

Cindy is doing one thing in Papua New Guinea and the opposite back home; there’s a word for that…hypocrisy!

Pike River, Andrew Little & the union that did nothing

by Christie on November 16, 2018 at 8:00am

Photoshopped image credit: Pixy

Andrew Little is leading the charge to reopen Pike River mine and to send people into unknown and possibly dangerous conditions to find the remains of the 29 men who died in the mine. It is a tragic situation which has been politicised by the government in a way that is truly disgraceful. Nothing can be achieved by doing this; no one will be found alive, and whatever remains are there will almost certainly not be recognisable. Better to leave the mine as a grave and a memorial. The families know where their sons and brothers are. Let them rest in peace.

But then I came across this article which puts a whole different slant on the matter and shows the government to be hypocritical at best, and Andrew Little himself to be possibly complicit in the disaster that happened 8 years ago.


How Andrew Little failed the Pike River miners is a disturbing article, and I recommend you read it in its entirety if you want some background into the matter. Please note that the original article was written in 2012. quote.

WHEN THE  Royal Commission of Inquiry into the Pike River mining disaster issued its report  this week, the response of the Engineering, Printing and Manufacturing Union (EPMU) was immediate. It issued a press statement welcoming  the  report and is encouraging the Government to implement the recommended  changes as soon as possible.

This report is a damning indictment of New Zealand’s deregulated health and safety regime. Pike River Coal Ltd should never have been allowed to operate in the way it did, and in other countries it wouldn’t have been allowed to.

The report makes clear that the tragic loss of life at Pike River could have been prevented with stronger regulations, an independent and well-resourced mine safety inspectorate and genuine worker involvement in health and safety.

This statement represents a complete change of heart by the EPMU officialdom because it was never critical of  Pike River Coal (PRC) during the time that  the mine was open. The EPMU represented approximately half of the 140 miners on the site.

After the first explosion the EPMU strongly defended the management of PRC.

EPMU National secretary Andrew Little (now a Labour MP)  told the New Zealand Herald on November 22  2010 that  there was “nothing unusual about Pike River or this mine that we’ve been particularly concerned about”.

Andrew Little’s conciliatory views toward  PRC management were echoed by Labour MP Damien O’Connor. He suggested that no one was responsible for the accident and that the  disaster was “just one of these things that the West Coast unfortunately has had to get used to over the years”. end quote.

Yes, it is true that the West Coast has struggled with mining accidents over the years, but in the 21st century, with health and safety regulations being robust, such accidents were no longer expected to happen.

So, here we had the government, the opposition and the union lining up to defend the PRC management. quote.

The views of Andrew Little and the EPMU flew in the face of expert opinion.

While Andrew Little  was defending PRC an Australian gas drainage engineer, who wished to remain anonymous because he feared ‘recriminations’, said he visited Pike River in 2009  and observed that its  operating standards were “extremely poor”.

He said  that he had been told by miners  that the mine was flooded with methane gas about three weeks before the first explosion.

But despite the overwhelming evidence that there was  something seriously and dangerously wrong at the Pike Rive mine, the officials of the  EPMU did nothing.

The mine opened in November 2008  and on not one occasion did the EPMU  initiate industrial action or even criticise PRC’S  safety standards, even after a group of workers  walked off the job to protest the lack of basic emergency equipment. end quote.

The union did not support their workers when they walked off the job over safety concerns. quote.

It was exactly this benevolent attitude  by the EPMU that allowed PRC – and the Department of Labour – to continue as if it was just ‘business a usual’. It appears that no-one was  protecting the interests and concerns of the workers on the mining site. The EPMU failed to organise industrial action  to address safety concerns  at the  mine in favour of  ‘cooperating’ with management, what it and the CTU sometimes  refer to as ‘modern unionism’.

There won’t be any resignations from within the EPMU for dereliction of duty and, of course, Andrew Little  has escaped to Parliament. end quote.

If unions are not there to protect their workers, then why do they exist at all?

So while Andrew Little stands up to the media and says that re-entry is ‘fulfilling a promise’ to the families, is praised by Duncan Garner for his ‘integrity’ over the announcement to re-enter the mine, and pours scorn on the previous government for a ‘cover up’, we should all stop for a moment and consider just one small thing.

If Andrew Little, as the National Secretary of the EPMU at the time the mine was established (and when the explosions occurred) had done his job properly and taken the safety of his workers seriously, the Pike River mine disaster might never have happened.

No amount of ‘fulfilling a promise to the families’ is going to change the fact that their sons, husbands and brothers could have come home that day if the EPMU had done the job they are supposed to do, which is to look after the safety of their workers.

But they didn’t.