Mr Know-it-all Andrew Little in fact knows eff all

Andrew Little liked to make out he was cleverer than your average politician.

Yesterday he proved he is just as dumb as a bag of hammers:

The three expert reports supplied to the Pike River families for a manned re-entry into the mine’s drift do not fully take into account cost or risk, according to the briefing to the incoming minister.

Some of the mine deficiencies identified in the briefing are information gaps and structural problems that could lead to a risk of asphyxiation or roof collapse, which Solid Energy believed could not be adequately mitigated.??

But Pike River Minister Andrew Little says he has more updated information since the briefing that leads him to believe that the prospects for re-entry have improved, adding that the briefing reflected the different political values of the last Government.

“These BIMs are prepared by the previous Government. They really probably suit a set of political circumstances and values that prevailed at that time.

Actually, Andrew Little is dead wrong. BIMs are prepared by civil servants irrespective of who the old government were, or who the new government are. They would have briefed National in exactly the same manner.

“I’m very confident from the work that’s been done now and the reports I’ve seen that the feasibility of getting into the mine is considerably greater than what the public were led to believe three months ago.”

Little said the briefing did not “reflect the information I’ve seen more recently”.

“I’ve seen the BIM. But I’ve seen the advice that has been coming to me since … The indications are that it is technically feasible and increasingly physically feasible.”

The briefing, from the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment, outlined Solid Energy’s position that manned re-entry was technically feasible, but the risks could not be adequately mitigated.

Back to Andrew Little thinking he knows best. He is setting someone up to die, and worse he is setting someone else up to be prosecuted. I wonder how the recruitment is going for a CEO who may well be charged and imprisoned under OSH laws if someone gets killed or injured in Pike River.

It said some of the obstacles were the crippled integrity of existing roof and wall supports, a lack of full information about the mine’s structure, and the risk of rockfall from strata failure, such as a roof collapse.

The mine had 234 identified hazards that could lead to the mine filling with air that is not breathable, flooding with accumulated water in the mine workings, or exploding from an ignition of flammable gas.

Solid Energy noted that a failure of just one of over 600 controls could lead to injury or entrapment.

But that’s all OK, someone else will get prosecuted and Andrew Little will just shrug his shoulders.

If Andrew Little had any guts he’d be the first down the mine shaft.


-NZ Herald