“Stop the cover-up!” Readers call for full investigation and justice for victims of New Zealand mining disaster

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the World Socialist Website issues statements in support of the Pike River Families Committee, which represents 23 of the 29 families of men who died in the 2010 Pike River Coal Mine disaster in New Zealand. Families are fighting to overturn the Labor Party-led government decision to end an underground forensic investigation into the mine. The government aims to prevent the recovery and examination of evidence that could be used in the criminal prosecution of those responsible for the disaster.

Installation near the Pike River mine in 2017 symbolizing the 29 deceased men [Credit: WSWS Media]

More than a decade after the Pike River explosions, no one has been brought to justice. Successive governments, union bureaucrats and state agencies have protected the executives and managers of the company, whose negligence has turned the mine into a death trap. The WSWS urges readers around the world to read and share our statement, Justice for the 29 minors killed at Pike River in New Zealand!, and send messages of support for this crucial fight.

To read previously published statements from readers around the world, click here and here. Former minors in UK contributed to statements here.

Rachel Raue, New Zealand:

I fully support the Pike River Families Committee in their demand for a full investigation into the disaster that killed their family members on November 19, 2010. Further, I agree that the executives of the company, held responsible for this serious and fatal negligence to ensure the safety of their workers, must be prosecuted.

Twenty-nine workers have been killed, yet more than ten years have passed since the disaster, with no shutdowns for families and communities.

The Ardern Labor government is responsible for ensuring the safety of all workers in New Zealand. Without transparency in this most important case, this will never be possible. Corporate greed will continue to ensure that workers’ lives are put at risk to ensure profit margins are respected.

While Pike River Salvage Minister Andrew Little says the government’s decision to end a forensic investigation is due to prioritizing the “living,” details of the cover-up suggest, if not blatantly revealing that it is really about protecting big business. Protecting New Zealand’s working class does not appear to be a priority. Compassion or closure is also not for all victims of the Pike River disaster, whether living or deceased.

International mining experts are supporting these New Zealand families. Yet their own government turns its back on them, denying the application of justice while supporting the continued enactment of the capitalist agenda that places profit on people and the planet.

Lynette Stevens, New Zealand:

Our family fully supports Dean and Bernie and others in need of justice! Our family lost our brother on a corporate farm in New Zealand exactly one year after the Pike disaster… we know what the fight against corruption looks like… so our respect to you all!

Heather Christiansen, New Zealand:

I support the families of Pike River, at the very least they deserve a fair trial. This is a joke on the part of our government. Why go in and investigate now to raise their hopes, only to shut it down again before it even starts? All that hard work, sweat and tears, just put them through more turmoil and pain. These families need justice and at least an appropriate response to end this.

They say it’s dangerous to enter, but people put their lives on the line to save other people every day. If anyone wants to do it, leave it. If it costs too much, why start it in the first place? The government wastes millions every year on silly things like referendums, like John Key wanting to change the flag of New Zealand. This is the least of our worries. Likewise, referendums on cannabis and end of life. This is all just to distract us from what is really going on in our country. I plead for the investigation to continue, no one deserves to go to work to die and not return home.

Lisa, United States:

We, members of the international working class, call for this Pike coal mine to remain open for continued investigation. It was no accident. This happened because the PRC put its profits before the health and safety of the workers who mine this coal. The Supreme Court ruled on regulators’ complicity with Whittall to keep the mine open when it was clearly unsure. The PRC, government regulators, the “union” are responsible for the deaths of these workers and must clearly be held accountable!

Don’t shut down the Pike River mine!

Amy Jesensek, New Zealand:

The cause of this disaster must be identified. Too often, the powerful at the top come out without consequences, while the workers pay the ultimate price. If you have the power to make decisions, which can affect the life or death of a worker, and you are paid generously for it, you must be held accountable if your decisions result in the death of workers.

STOP COVERAGE!

EXHIBIT CORPORATIONS!

PURSUE THE LEADERS!

JUSTICE FOR ALL – NOT ONLY AGAINST THE POOR!

JACINDA WE ARE LOOKING AT YOU – SAVE YOUR LOVELY WORDS WITH REAL ACTION!

Stan Mackowiak, New Zealand:

There can be no withdrawal from the mine, scientific and forensic evidence must be collected. Families must find the remains of their loved ones and criminal proceedings against legal entities and individuals must be initiated. The guilt of unions and governments of all stripes must be exposed.

Neil Munro, New Zealand:

This is obviously a huge cover-up. The GOVERNMENT OF NEW ZEALAND has tried and continues to try to stop this situation, claiming it is too costly or dangerous. Global mining experts disagree. People must be held accountable, and the real reasons for the disaster have been discovered to stop a repeat in the future.

Gina King, New Zealand:

We need this investigation to continue. Men need to go home, the answers to so many questions are not far away. Labor has promised families and New Zealand that they will get answers.

Neville Hooker, New Zealand:

Absolutely so wrong that the 29 families of lost minors had to go through such a long, lengthy, stressful and no-commitment approach on the part of the government and previous governments to retrieve the relatives of the families. So bad and wrong. Examine the evidence to date that this horrific tragedy even happened and worse still that the families of these poor miners had to endure such a stressful event without even being able to rest their loved ones. Come on, government, bring these brave miners back to their loved ones now!

Tina-Marie, Australia / New Zealand:

It is very sad that these men have not been returned to their families and that the truth has been uncovered. I was born in Greymouth but have lived in Australia for many years now and it is deeply sad that this tragedy has still not been resolved. It is absolutely heartbreaking that families are still fighting to get the right thing done. Bring the men home, do whatever it takes !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Hoani T McGregor, New Zealand

They’ve come this far, do the bloody work. Someone is responsible for what happened. I want anyone to be held accountable. I have modest means but I am ready to make my contribution. If most of us who are willing paid maybe $ 20 or $ 30, we could do it. However, I do not want to let the government get away with it.

John Whyte, Australia:

So close but so far. Surely the government can fund this until the end, hopefully we can still bring them home, most of the hard work is done.

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