Labour Minister Kate Wilkinson resigns over Pike River report; Disaster put down to 20 years of failure to keep up with best safety practice

Labour Minister Kate Wilkinson resigns over Pike River report; Disaster put down to 20 years of failure to keep up with best safety practice

Minister for Labour Kate Wilkinson has resigned from the portfolio following a damning Royal Commission report into the Pike River mining disaster.

Prime Minister John Key said Wilkinson believed resigning was the honourable thing to do. She will keep her other Ministerial warrants.

The disaster was put down to two decades during which the Department of Labour and Pike River Coal Limited failed to keep up with international best practice for mine safety.

"I think it's fair to say that this isn't an issue that's solely arisen under our watch. It's been there really for 20 years now. Kate Wilkinson happens to be the Minister of Labour at the time this has taken place," Key said.

He had requested the relevant paperwork the Department of Labour had sent Wilkinson while she was the responsible Minister. The advice given to Wilkinson "gave quite a different picture" to what the Royal Commission report noted was actually going on within the Department and the industry.

"I haven't seen any paper work that suggests any of her actions or inactions were in any way to blame," Key said.

"Even the Royal Commission in its findings says that if you look at the [Department's] statement of intent, and you look at the public documents from the Department, you wouldn't have got a picture that there was a problem," Key said.

In the end the company, "completely and utterly failed to protect their workers."

"As a result of that, they were put at undue risk, and an explosion took place that killed them. But I think the Department, if it had been adopting world's best practice, and keeping up with what was happening in other mining environments like this around the world, would have had a different set of procedures," Key said.

"In effect it deluded itself that it was following the right process when in fact it wasn't."

The Royal Commission said inspectors treated Pike River under a 'high trust model'.

"In fact that trust was mis-placed. While they found problems and errors in their quarterly inspections, they didn't raise them fast enough, or didn't actually physically close the mine down. So I think it will change the way we do things," Key said.

"It is inevitably going to lead to a far more prescriptive regime."

There was no news today on whether heads would also roll at the Department of Labour faction now part of the Ministry for Business, Innovation and Employment (MoBIE). Key said any decisions there were up to MoBIE CEO David Smol.

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If a Royal Commission is supposed to be independent, then why does the Govt get the report 7 days before the rest of the country?
What's the point of a Royal Commission when involved parties get a prior look, and can do preemptive damage control?
Might as well not have bothered.

This is one of the reasons confirming our status as subjects rather than citizens.

Why did it take 2 years for the Minister to realise that her department was incompetent?
The same goes for EQC.  We all know that they are incompetent (absolutely, utterly and completely), yet the Ministers responsible still take no responsibility ...
National seem intent on self destructing, and letting us face Labour's stupidity in just 2 years time.
Time to sort themselves out.  Key has to do more than scrapping off the batsh#t and calling anything red gay...

The leader of the nation not on top of his agenda - again.
 Our PM is performing poorly and should be sacked.
Not only his lies and poor media performances, but also his stupid and bullish behaviour in parliament, lead often to frustrating and aggressive situations. Since PM Key is leading this country we hear increasingly arrogant statements of particularly  “National Frontbenchers” and ethical and democratic processes have diminished also.

 Wilkinson was warned how many times?
And she STILL did nothing?
Ah well, at least she saved a few bucks on inspector fees.... that`s all that really matters, eh Kate?

Profit certainly dictated before safety - again.  - 10:44am
I’m wonder how oil exploration/ fracking here in New Zealand handles this matter. Do we see more ministers say yes, without taking real responsibility for safety ?
Of course we do :

John Key is doing his job as Prime Minister . We should all be proud of him
what a guy is our John. I hope he makes Fracking Compulsory its what this
country needs fresh new gushers of Texas tea. now for the greenies out there
you should all be made to go down the mines.

+1 for troll of the day.
Guess no bites at this time of night.

Will probably be the end of coal mining in NZ i'd say.

I'd look at it from another angle, why do we need so many regulations etc? its because the amoral sharks will take un-fair advantage of the innocents.
Why do regulations seem inadequate at times? because those same sharks know there is a big profit and easy feeding in getting around them.
Does that mean we shouldnt try? no it means we have to and if not have more regs increase the penalties so it becomes grossly un-profitable when caught.
Maybe then the sharks will do a fair days work instead of being parasites.
blue pigs might fly of course.

This is frankly bullsh*t,
I see it all the time....the bullsh*t merchants write fancy, meaningless document that tick all the boxes that those on the ground without enough money, time, training and capacity cannot meet.
""Even the Royal Commission in its findings says that if you look at the [Department's] statement of intent, and you look at the public documents from the Department, you wouldn't have got a picture that there was a problem," Key said."
There is intent and documentation and what actually happens on the ground...thats all these losers do, look at docs and chat over a cup of tea to fellow bullsh*t merchants, tick the boxes, take a large fee and move on.
I'd say clueless but thats not true, they know exactly what they are not doing....

This is the most accurate thing you have written.

One can imagine the conversation in the PM's office with Kate Wilkinson...
'We'll have to make it look like we're finally doing something when the public get to see this report. It's quite damning. How about you quickly resign.'
'What? and lose my ministerial salary and all the perks?"
'Of course not! Stay in cabinet. All this will blow over soon. It's only the West Coast, and a few miners who didn't go to university and make millions gambling on the money markets."
'Not really. (chuckles) We always knew any losses would be socialised. But don't worry, you'll get the labour portfolio back in a few months as you have to knock the workers down a bit more. My masters require it."
'Thanks JK. I wont let you down. I'll do my best to get New Zealanders' wages down to asian levels. I'm told that Filipinos will work for $10 a day. That should make the rebuild cheap."

Of course you completely ignore who was involved during the consenting and construction of the mine.