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Call for independent worker representative

Greens call for independent worker representative on Pike River Royal Commission

The Green Party today welcomed the announcement of a Royal Commission into the Pike River mine disaster, but called on the Government to include an independent representative of workers as one of the Commissioners.

"The make-up of the panel that conducts the Royal Commission will be critical to its credibility and ability to do its job," Green Party Co-leader Russel Norman said.

"There needs to be a workers' representative on the panel ensure that a workers’ perspective is taken into account. The panel should not only consist of an industry expert and a judge.

"For the sake of everyone involved, and to ensure that we get to the bottom of the cause of the explosion, the Inquiry needs to have maximum credibility and legitimacy. To do that it needs to include a representative of workers alongside industry expertise," Dr Norman said.

West Coast Green MP Kevin Hague said it was also vital that the families of those killed have a clear invitation and opportunity to speak to the Inquiry.

"Those families may well have important information about the mine," Mr Hague said.

Dr Norman suggested the Government should set up the Inquiry to operate in two parts.

"Part one would focus on the specific causes of the tragedy to give closure to families and guidance for the future operation of the mine, and would report earlier.

"Part two would focus on the related issue of the broader safety and regulation of underground mining and could take longer to report back. There have been many questions raised about whether the regulatory framework is strong enough," Dr Norman said.


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