Gordon Campbell | Parliament TV | Parliament Today | Video | Questions Of the Day | Search


Govt responds to Pike River Royal Commission

Rt Hon John Key
Prime Minister
5 November 2012 Media Statement

Govt responds to Pike River Royal Commission
Prime Minister John Key today welcomed the report of the Royal Commission on the Pike River Coal Mine Tragedy.

“We owe it to the families of the 29 men who died to find out what happened and why, and a Royal Commission was the most appropriate form of inquiry.

“I speak on behalf of the Government when I say I regret deeply what has happened, in terms of the lives lost and suffering caused.

“The Royal Commission made it very clear that much of the fault for the tragedy lies with Pike River Coal Ltd. Because it did not follow good management and best practice principles, its health and safety systems were inadequate.

“However, the Royal Commission also says the regulatory environment was not effective over a long period of time.

“On behalf of the Government, I apologise to the families, friends and loved ones of the deceased men for the role this lack of regulatory effectiveness played in the tragedy.

“Following the findings of the Royal Commission, Labour Minister Kate Wilkinson has tendered her resignation from that portfolio.

“Ms Wilkinson’s decision to resign is a personal decision in response to the magnitude of the tragedy. It is the honourable thing to do.

I considered it proper for me to accept her resignation from the Labour portfolio.

“Ms Wilkinson retains her Ministerial warrant and other portfolios.”

Mr Key says the Royal Commission found the immediate cause of the tragedy was a large methane explosion.

“The most likely source of the methane was, to use the Royal Commission’s words, the void formed during mining of the first coal extraction in the mine. Alternatively, the source may have been methane that accumulated in the working areas of the mine.

“While the exact cause may not be known, the Royal Commission has found that this tragedy was preventable and that a combination of factors contributed to the terrible events of November 19, 2010.

“The first group of factors relates to Pike River Coal itself. And the second relates to the regulatory environment in which it operated,” says Mr Key.

“The Commission found there were multiple operational and systemic issues with Pike River Coal. The company had a history of over-promising and under-delivering. Coal production was years behind schedule, and a lack of money was driving the company to find further funding.

The business was new, and its systems, including those for health and safety, were in development.

“Pike River lost sight of its aim to be a productive and safe mine as the drive for production intensified.”

A second factor was the regulatory environment under which the Pike River Mine operated.

“Under successive governments, since 1992, the influence and reach of the mining inspectorate was eroded.

“The Commission found that while the Health and Safety in Employment Act appropriately placed primary responsibility for health and safety on the employer, this was seen by the Department of Labour as somehow reducing its responsibility to actively administer the legislation,” says Mr Key.

“The Royal Commission found the Department of Labour itself did not have the focus, capacity or strategies to ensure Pike was meeting its legal responsibilities under health and safety laws.”

Mr Key says the Government accepts there were systemic failures in the regulatory regime across successive governments.

“This meant that failures by Pike River Coal were not picked up and remedied as they should have been.
“The Royal Commission has made a total of 16 recommendations, covering administrative reform, stronger regulation, changes to mining legislation and emergency management,” says Mr Key.

“The Government will be broadly accepting those recommendations and will be working to implement them as quickly as possible.

“A small number require further investigation before they can be put in place; for example, the recommendation of the establishment of a new Crown entity focused on health and safety.

“Some will have an impact in relation to health and safety generally, and are not limited to underground mining.

“Detailed design and implementation issues will need to be worked through but the Government believes it is already on the path to putting these into action, including legislative and administrative changes, and through the work of the Independent Taskforce on Workplace Health and Safety.”

The report is available at: http://www.pikeriver.royalcommission.govt.nz.


© Scoop Media

Parliament Headlines | Politics Headlines | Regional Headlines



Gordon Campbell: On John Key’s Trip To Iraq

In the embedded press coverage on this trip, the absence so far of any evaluation of the wider context of what New Zealand thinks it is doing at Camp Taji has been striking. More>>


Labour: Parata Puts Brakes On Charter School Appraisal

“When the Ministry of Education recommended they compare the achievements of children at charter schools to those of their counterparts at state schools, the documents show Hekia Parata specifically prohibited them from doing so." More>>


Bad Day For Universities: Gun, Bomb Threats On Three Campuses

Dunedin Police are continuing their investigation into the threat made against the University of Otago. Staff are following a number of lines of inquiry, and police are working to verify the authenticity and source of the post. More>>


Gordon Campbell: On The TPP Deal Reached In Atlanta

Yes, the TPP has helped to knock a few points off the tariffs facing our exporters. Yet some of those alleged dollar gains may well have been made regardless over time – and without the negative baggage of the concessions in the non-trade areas (intellectual property, copyright extensions, investor-state dispute mechanisms etc) that the TPP deal also brings in its wake. More>> (Cartoon by Dave Wolland)

Public Summaries:


Wellington.Scoop: Serco – First The Prisons, And Now It Wants To Run The Trains

As the government continues its inquiry into Serco’s discredited administration of Mt Eden prison in Auckland, here in Wellington there’s further scrutiny of the British outsourcing company – because it’s competing to take over the running of our commuter trains. More>>


Pre-Signing: Gordon Campbell On The TPP Countdown

To date, the Key government has been unwilling to share any information about this TPP deal until it is too late for outraged public opinion to affect the outcome... the disclosure process is likely to consist of a similarly skewed and careful exercise in spin. More>>


Australia Deportations: English Relaxed On Immigration Centre Conditions

Labour's Annette King: “There have been numerous reports from inside these detention centres on just how bad conditions are... If they were being held in any other foreign jail, I imagine Mr English would be somewhat concerned. More>>


Schools: Achievement-Based Funding Would Be A Disaster

The Education Minister’s speech to the PPTA Conference raising the spectre of achievement data driving a new funding system would be disastrous, says NZEI Te Riu Roa. More>>

  • Video Out-Link - PPTA Annual Conference 2015 on Livestream (Q+A dicussion suggests funding would be directed to less successful schools.)

  • ALSO:

    ECE Report:

    Get More From Scoop



    Search Scoop  
    Powered by Vodafone
    NZ independent news