Sunday, December 2, 2018


The Pike River re-entry operation (it's not a recovery operation ... we need to be honest about that) is a fiasco backed by an open-ended government cheque book designed to appease those who have lost touch with reality while ignoring the wishes of other families who consider the mine a grave-site best left undisturbed.

For the record I am also uncomfortable with the repatriation of the remains of service personnel buried overseas post the signing of the Korean War armistice.   They too should have been allowed to rest-in-peace where they were interred.

And now the revelation that the re-entry operation will go no further than the point where the tunnel collapsed some 2 km from the mine entrance and short of the mine proper where the 29 men were likely working at the time of the explosion with the further caveat that they might go only as far as the second chamber 170m from the entrance.

So, $36m and climbing from a entry operation likely to achieve what?     A form of mea culpa for Mr Little who, in his previous life as a Union official signed off on the mine operation as fit for purpose, or making good on  a ego trip promise by WRP.     Whatever, this is likely to end in tears with nowt to show for it ... save the desecration of a grave-site.     Those that died deserve better than this increasingly macabre political theatre.


Adolf Fiinkensein said...

In all such examples of political venality one should show how many hip replacements could have been performed with the money otherwise wasted.

Thirty six million dollars divided by twenty five thousand comes to one thousand four hundred and forty.

1440 hip replacements

Anonymous said...

How many hip ops would 26 million provide?

david said...

When using the "how many hip replacements" comparison, bear in mind that the majority of hip replacements are done on people with limited life span remaining. Is that the best use of scarce health dollars? Or would that money be better spent on gender reassignment surgery for children? Better mental health care for those sent off to foreign wars? A National Day of Couch Burning?

Why should the rest of us pay because old people have not maintained and thus worn out their bodies?

The Veteran said...

Well, nothing like a bit of tangential comment to deflect from the point of the post.

RosscoWlg said...

Tangential?... more like fuckwittery isn't it..
Unsupported statements like "people with limited life span remaining" From all the ones I have seen they have been people of a whole range of ages... a lot of them sports related and in their 40, 50's
Obviously there are people with genetic disposition.
And of course we are living longer than previous generations
We are also working longer too, to 65 and 70's and putting strain on out bodies.
Perhaps these old people have worked hard all their lives doing physical work that David of course knows nothing about probably...
Probably has RSI in his wrists from working his keyboard too hard.....
Totally agree with the sentiments expressed in this post by the Vet... I suspect most Kiwis feel the same way...disgusted

Andrei said...

I think the mine should be declared a grave and treated as such - like the USS Arizona is a war grave.

And David hip replacements are only performed on people whose lives are severly impacted by bad hips but are otherwise healthy.

In the long term they are cheaper than providing home help or putting people into rest homes as well as providing a higher quality of life for many

It would be karma if some day you require one and have to wait for years to get it

Anonymous said...

On the mine and repatriation of military remains I am in complete agreement. RIP should mean exactly that. However, and there is always a however, governments of all colours always seem to find ways of spending taxpayers money in order to make a political point, in their favour.

One of the most cynical and despicable acts of a labour govt was the interring of the unknown soldier...70 years too late when the point has been lost. No lost soul of a battlefield deserves to be unknown and it was within our scientific knowhow to identify him. The whole idea of the unknown soldier in 1920 Britain was to bring closure to the thousands of widows and families whose soldier was "missing" long before DNA. You could tell the progress of the cortege through London by the sighing and weeping as it passed.

Lord Egbut

The Veteran said...

The re interment of the 'original' unknown soldier was done with a style and dignity that no-one who witnessed it could fail to be moved.

There were four bodies exhumed from the battlefields of the Aisne, the Somme, Arras and Ypres. They were taken to a chapel on stretchers and covered with the Union flag. Brigadier-General Wyatt, the GOC troops in France and Flanders along with Colonel Gell went into the Chapel alone where General Wyatt selected one stretcher. The body was lifted from the stretcher by the two officers and placed in a plain coffin and sealed. The other three bodies were the re-buried; the location of the re-burial site is a matter of some controversy. The bringing of the body back to Britain and his subsequent re-internment in Westminster Abbey is well documented in film, photo and written form.

David said...

Jesus got it right - let the dead bury the dead. Let sleeping dogs lie. Keep the bodies in their tomb. Nothing will be achieved, it isn't even going to provide a decent photo op.

Well, nothing like a bit of tangential comment to deflect from the point of the post.

The excoritae those who bring up the "how many hip replacemts" argument.

Anonymous said...

Veteran...dignity for the politicians and career military but behind the scenes no dignity at all.

In the 1980's I was fortunate enough to read the unpublished transcript of a Graves Registration Officer that had been laboriously typed out in double spacing before he died in 1n the 1970's. The period was in the immediate aftermath of the war and the reason no publisher would touch it quickly became apparent.

The rule was one skull per box with surplus bones distributed evenly. The several officers in the GRU who were drunk by ten and dead drunk by twelve. The large number of unknown soldiers were not unknown at all, they were the result of shellfire destroying cemeteries laid down in previous years and the records lost. Before the GRU each battalion was responsible for burial and it's own record keeping.

In the 1918 offensive the many Germans came across vast stockpiles of wine and spirits and become thoroughly pissed, one lot got into a Canadian cemetery and promoted all the privates to officers and visa versa. As the grave records had gone off to Canada years before the promotions stood. Bodies disinterred by shellfire, wooden grave markers being used as firewood it was a wonder that so many are actually identified.

Caterpillar wood cemetery where the NZ unknown soldier was taken from was formed after 1919 when 5,000 bodies were bought in from all outlying cemeteries some of which had suffered damage in the 1918 offensive. Out of the 5,000 soldiers 3,800 are unknown mainly from 1916. Unknown because of shoddy record keeping.

I believe that all the unknown soldiers should now have a name particularly ours as it was political metoo act without any merit at all. Micro drill down to take a bone sample for DNA. Of course there might be the embarrassment of discovering he is not a NZ soldier at all....which given the chaos of 1919 is distinct possibility.

Lord Egbut

Noel said...

I remember some commentators here been highly critical of Te Auraki because having previously served with the deceased somehow gave them some sort of precedence over whanau.
Well that happened and so will Pike River.