Passions ran high in Parliament last night during debate on the Health and Safety Reform Bill over the Pike River disaster which killed 29 men and what caused it.
And Green MP Catherine Delahunty was clear.
"The whole reason we had Pike River was because Peter Whittall [former Pike River Coal chief executive] wouldn't listen to the workers," she said under parliamentary privilege.
"It wasn't a bunch of workers refusing to put on their safety gear.
"It was methane, every day, day after day, methane, methane, no ladder, methane, a room full of complaints.
"Those workers complained every single day that they were at risk, and what happened? A big fat nothing and they died."
She said the most effective way to achieve health and safety in the workplace was to empower workers so they could get their issues heard collectively, and as an issue of mutual responsibility with the employer.
"But you cannot achieve that with power inequity."
The most contentious issue in the bill is the fact that small businesses with fewer than 20 employees will be exempt from the requirement of having a health and safety worker representative if requested - which Labour says will leave 300,000 without the entitlement to have a worker representative.
Workplace Relations Minister Michael Woodhouse expressed regret to relatives of people killed at work, who were in the public gallery, over the delay of the bill for a day. He said he wanted to get the bill right.
The delay was in finalising proposed amendments by support parties, United Future and the Maori Party, and in finalising what constituted "high-risk" industries.
He said the Government was committed to reduced workplace death and injury and had taken a number of measures since the Pike River disaster and the Royal Commission into it, including: establishing a high-hazards unit, the independent task force into health and safety, new underground mining regulations, the setting up of Worksafe and investment in resources and health and safety work inspectors, the health and safety charter in Christchurch to support the Canterbury rebuild, and the bill.
The Department of Labour dropped 12 health and safety charges against Peter Whittall, a decision which has been challenged by the Council of Trade Unions in a judicial review.
Mr Whittall's lawyer, Stacey Shortall, said last night on his behalf that: "He has consistently said he did not know about these methane-related issues and there has never been any evidence produced to the contrary."
There had been a health and safety manager at the mine and he had also given evidence to the Royal Commission that he knew nothing of the methane-related complaints before the disaster.
She said Catherine Delahunty's claims were not consistent with the evidence put before the Royal Commission or contained in prosecutions against Pike River Company or Mr Whittall.
Pike River while in receivership was convicted on health and safety violations. Charges against Mr Whittall were dropped by the Department of Labour, a decision which has been challenged by the Council of Trade Unions under judicial review. A decision is pending.