“Kill a worker, go to jail!”—More readers demand full investigation of Pike River mine disaster

The World Socialist Web Site is publishing statements in support of the Pike River Families Committee, which represents 23 of the 29 families of the men who died in the 2010 Pike River coal mine disaster in New Zealand. The families are fighting to overturn the Labour Party-led government’s decision to end an underground forensic investigation of the mine. The government aims to prevent the recovery and examination of evidence that could be used in criminal prosecutions of those responsible for the disaster.

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

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

Rescue workers enter the Pike River mine at Greymouth, New Zealand, Tuesday, June 28, 2011. (AP Photo/The Press via NZPA, Iain McGregor, Pool)

Hassan, New Zealand:

I am just wondering, if any of the men who died in the mine was the son, father or brother of one of the high-ups, would this case have gotten to where it is today? Is human life so insignificant as long as it is not one of theirs?

Also, New Zealanders going silent about this case not being handled properly are a big accomplice to the criminals. Albert Einstein once said, “The world is a dangerous place, not because of those who do evil, but because of those who look on and do nothing.”

Each New Zealander should put themselves in the shoes of the Pike River Families and feel the pain. Hopefully this will get them to fight with the families for their simple and basic rights.

Barry Gardner, Australia:

My heart is very saddened that the families and loved ones of those poor souls who lost their lives in the Pike River mining disaster have not been paid their due justice, for it is said that “delayed justice is no justice!”

The families of those lost in this tragedy are owed an explanation, and indeed, those responsible for sending these miners to their graves through negligence and greed for profit should be held accountable!

No government, no corporation is free from blame if workers lose their lives on the job through neglect or ‘unsafe’ work practices. Accountability and justice must be seen to be done. “Kill A Worker, Go To Jail!”

Ivan, New Zealand:

The whole thing smacks of political expediency—always has. It is heartless to not make the breakthrough and try to at least uncover what went wrong (I have my theories). It is also, to my way of thinking, criminal on a number of levels.

Don Spicer, New Zealand:

Come on Labour, let’s get this little bit more over with, and get to the bottom of this disaster. 29 men went to work and never came home. They worked in a dangerous workplace. That was known by those at the top, and they got away with it. We need to find out just what caused this explosion.

Ira Williams, New Zealand:

I support having a thorough investigation into what happened at Pike River, and finding out what went wrong, so they can be held accountable and to stop this happening again. But most of all, for the grieving family members left behind, I support them being heard and getting answers to their questions.

Mark Michael, Australia:

Workers’ lives continue to be lost and then dismissed, because we do not rate when profit is paramount. Justice for the Pike River miners will be a victory for all workers who have given too much, if not their lives, to the profiteers.

Yours in Solidarity

Kylie Blake, New Zealand:

As I see it: they should continue to go in, dig the evidence out, and have the right people charged. I reckon the government is not producing all the evidence they have, like videos. Where’s Andrew Little today? He’s hiding under a rock, because he knows he’s in trouble.

Personally, I’m happy to go down there and move a whole heap of rocks. There’s no coal fire still burning, there’s no dangerous gasses down there. It’s just the government saying this, that and everything else, to cover it all up. We need to go in there and get our boys back. They’re still in there, and I reckon that they were still alive after the explosion.

If you go back a few years ago, to when they were drilling holes and dropping down cameras, there was a pallet sitting there that wasn’t burnt, and a plastic bucket that was sitting there. If this was a coal fire, with hundreds of degrees, then wood would have burnt and plastic would have melted.

Eric Roil, New Zealand:

I think the government should let Mines Rescue go further into the mine so they can maybe find evidence to help bring those responsible to justice.

Eileen Whitehead, Australia:

Greedy capitalists have been getting away with murder for far too long. These mining tragedies should not be happening in the twenty-first century. No-one should die at their workplace! I sincerely hope there will be some form of recompense, but it won't remove the pain from your loss.

Carole Gibb, New Zealand:

Not proud to be a New Zealander at the moment. Labour and all societies in NZ need to do the right thing: get the evidence of a disgraceful, shocking experience for all us New Zealanders. I don’t know how this government can live with itself—at least they are living. Do the correct, moral thing, everyone can get behind and get the coverage up and get this story the justice it deserves, so we can be proud to be from New Zealand.

Nancy Little, UK:

The miners have always been suppressed, whether it’s coal, copper, tin, lead. Always kicked in the teeth. Stand and fight for your rights. x