Report confirms what we all knew

By Ross Pringle

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The report on the Royal Commission of Inquiry into Pike River mine produced few surprises when released yesterday.

The much-anticipated report was scathing in its assessment of the recovery, critical of Pike River in establishing and managing the mine, and singled out the Government for its handling of safety issues.

It is hard to conceive that it is almost two years since that tragedy. For the families, the pain of their loss continues as fresh as the first day.

They have had to live with constant reminders as hearings were held and frustration over being unable to retrieve the bodies of those lost in the November 19, 2010, explosion.

While we would all agree with those who back the implementation of the recommendations with considerable haste, there will be others who would argue that it should never have come to this.

The mine should not have opened, the mines inspectorate should not have been closed, and we should have better systems for co-ordinated response to such disasters.

Labour Minister Kate Wilkinson was quick to fall on her sword, although many would ask why it took a report to convince her to resign when the "right and honourable thing to do" as she put it, would have been to step aside immediately.

At least two constant and nagging questions have been answered, perhaps with finality. The report rules out the suggestion that, had a rescue been attempted straight away, lives might have been saved. Nor would a second entrance have helped improve the likelihood of survival.

We can't turn the clock back for the families and loved ones who still mourn their loss, but we can look forward and do as many of the things outlined in the report as possible to ensure nothing like this happens on our shores again.

Feedback: editor@wanganuichronicle.co.nz

- Wanganui Chronicle

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