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Speaker: Let's talk about class

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  • Tinakori,

    What government was in power for most of the decade prior to Pike River? Who were the founders of the main party in that government and where was that party founded?

    Wellington • Since Jul 2013 • 118 posts Report Reply

  • Kumara Republic, in reply to Rosemary McDonald,

    Elderly friends, in their eighties, living in a comfortable retirement complex run by the “notorious for its slack care standards” Ryman. Elderly couple…if I were applying the same UK class distinctions I was raised on, are definately ‘working class’. Hard workers, hard savers.

    There's definitely a class system in NZ, but it's more like the American class system (where people buy their way into it) than the British one. (being born into it)

    The southernmost capital … • Since Nov 2006 • 5429 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown, in reply to Tinakori,

    What government was in power for most of the decade prior to Pike River? Who were the founders of the main party in that government and where was that party founded?

    I’ll ignore your attempt to troll.

    The big change to mining regulation came with the 1992 Health and Safety in Employment Act, which repealed existing mining laws and introduced the concepts of self-regulation and “practicable steps” with respect to safety. Labour made no meaningful change in government. Both governments were warned there was a problem.

    Pike River itself operated entirely on the present government’s watch. It was opened by Gerry Brownlee in 2008, although didn’t manage to deliver an export coal shipment until 2010, the year of the disaster.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 22825 posts Report Reply

  • Sacha, in reply to Russell Brown,

    Labour made no meaningful change in government. Both governments were warned there was a problem.

    Didn't Labour initiate a review far too late in their term whose recommendations the Nats ignored when they came into office?

    Ak • Since May 2008 • 19706 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown, in reply to Sacha,

    Didn’t Labour initiate a review far too late in their term whose recommendations the Nats ignored when they came into office?

    I think that’s covered in the Proposals for Reform part of the Royal Commission’s report:

    In 2005 the government issued a 10-year strategy to improve New Zealand’s poor record in health and safety. In 2009 DOL received submissions on the strategy from employers, unions and experts, which painted a sobering picture of the administration of the legislation by DOL and the department’s lack of capacity.

    In 2011 the government issued a three-year action plan that identified five industries for priority attention. The strategy paid little attention to high-hazard industries. The risks in high-hazard industries are not revealed by personal safety statistics, such as injury rates, on which the strategy relied. Data on process safety (including preventative measures, analysis of high-potential incidents and assessment of safety plans) is required. This requirement has been known for 40 years and its implications have been widely discussed internationally.

    Government strategy and action plans must give proper weight to the risks posed by high-hazard industries.

    So yes, the current government inherited a pretty good opportunity to address the problem in mining (and forestry, for that matter), and didn’t.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 22825 posts Report Reply

  • TracyMac, in reply to Kevin Hague,

    No intention to ring your bell, Kevin. I think the parliamentary Greens are doing a hell of a lot for workers' rights, and certainly get more bang for the buck on these issues than Labour is right now.

    As someone who votes Green, but is not a party member, I'm afraid I was unaware of the work done on Pike River and mining safety in general.

    I suppose it's the same old story of the "no mines at any cost" so-called "loony" element being played up in the media, vs the more pragmatic approach of those actually doing the work (and the majority of Green voters, I suspect).

    Thanks for the extra detail, and I'll do my own foot-shuffling for being sucked in by media biases I'm actually fully aware of!

    Canberra, West Island • Since Nov 2006 • 701 posts Report Reply

  • LanceWiggs,

    Outrage and revenge are one thing, and I'm as disappointed and saddened as everyone. Reading the first par of the book was enough to signal that Pike River was well out of control.
    However the main result from Pike River and a host of other preventable tragedies is the upcoming Workplace Health and Safety Reform, which will make company directors and officers accountable, amongst other things. It's modelled on Australia's tough regime, and the the best thing we can do is support it and make sure it is not defanged.
    http://www.mbie.govt.nz/what-we-do/workplace-health-and-safety-reform

    NZ • Since Nov 2010 • 5 posts Report Reply

  • Sacha, in reply to LanceWiggs,

    Thanks, Lance.

    Ak • Since May 2008 • 19706 posts Report Reply

  • Sofie Bribiesca, in reply to TracyMac,

    Thanks for the extra detail, and I’ll do my own foot-shuffling for being sucked in by media biases I’m actually fully aware of!

    here and there. • Since Nov 2007 • 6796 posts Report Reply

  • Sofie Bribiesca, in reply to TracyMac,

    Thanks for the extra detail, and I’ll do my own foot-shuffling for being sucked in by media biases I’m actually fully aware of!

    Hey, that's why I like recording Question time and debates. It's in the real . Warts an'all. I love that the camera catches faces of all of them. It's telling one lots. Then your own ears hear what's going on and it's a big part of how our laws are already decided. National does whatever it likes no matter all the work done with facts by the Opposition. No matter the facts.I'd much rather those who sit to the left of the Speaker than those to his right be running our Country,their warts an'all.

    here and there. • Since Nov 2007 • 6796 posts Report Reply

  • Kevin Hague, in reply to TracyMac,

    Thanks Tracy - much appreciated! (And good points!)

    Greymouth • Since Jan 2010 • 2 posts Report Reply

  • william blake, in reply to LanceWiggs,

    Thanks for the link Lance, I don't see how new legislation will improve occupational safety and health if the prosecution of it is not really backed by political will.

    Peter Whittall and PRM were prosecuted in such a way as they could never be retried in court. The fine was higher than the maximum in the new legislation as well as $3M in compensation to the families.

    Whittall and PRM later cried bankrupt and reneged on the fine and payed out $5,000 to each family.

    John Key did not allow a union representative on the commission of inquiry that led to this legislation as the representative ,in his words, would have been "biased".

    Since Mar 2010 • 380 posts Report Reply

  • Barnard, in reply to AceMcWicked,

    To see 'identity politics' as it's come to be practiced as simply another name for 'civil rights' is to completely miss the point, and the problem. In fact those most wedded to it would dismiss 'civil rights' just as much as any of the 'old left' would reject reform within the structures of a liberal democracy as a solution. It's sadly imbued in the left the idea that you can't conceive of a politics outside of your own experience, and that anything resembling solidarity or empathy are simply the preserve of a deluded white middle class to be mocked (see any number of twitter hashtags). "Asking middle class liberals to be more class-conscious and at the same time expecting them to fight or care for the working class is a contradiction." is really no different to the idea no matter how enlightened men will always be part of the 'patriarchy', white people will always be part of a 'white supremacy'. They're sides of the same coin, not poles apart, and it's a bit bizarre to preach that form of politics and then complain when people won't embrace anything outside what's perceived as their own 'interests'.
    The idea that you could support the idea of marriage equality, for the identical reason you care about Pike river, namely justice, and that justice need not be tied to either class or narrow definitions of identify, or be limited by your own 'privilege' seems to have been lost by a lot of the modern left (Or at least is now an idea to be openly ridiculed). That you could think Pike river matters because the families deserve justice, and a just society is one which provides decent conditions for workers just seem to be treated as a bourgeois delusion.
    Thankfully the impact of what are quite regressive ideas on the like of the Greens is limited.

    Wellington • Since Nov 2012 • 72 posts Report Reply

  • Sacha, in reply to Barnard,

    As you say, justice is a better unifying concept. What's right resonates. In New Zealand, fairness is also surely a core value to come back to.

    Ak • Since May 2008 • 19706 posts Report Reply

  • Kumara Republic, in reply to TracyMac,

    I suppose it's the same old story of the "no mines at any cost" so-called "loony" element being played up in the media, vs the more pragmatic approach of those actually doing the work (and the majority of Green voters, I suspect).

    I don't know where certain people have gotten the idea that "eco-nuts" were responsible for Pike River happening because they wouldn't allow strip-mining, but in any case it's a worrying sign of Big Lies at work. And I suspect many of these same people blame "macho" workers for dying on the job. I sometimes wonder if this brain fart on a window sums it up.

    The southernmost capital … • Since Nov 2006 • 5429 posts Report Reply

  • Rich Lock, in reply to giovanni tiso,

    Thing is never expect middle class liberals to fight a class war

    Bingo. Asking middle class liberals to be more class-conscious and at the same time expecting them to fight or care for the working class is a contradiction.

    But the proles, if only they could somehow become conscious of their own strength, would have no need to conspire. They needed only to rise up and shake themselves like a horse shaking off flies. If they chose they could blow the Party to pieces tomorrow morning. Surely sooner or later it must occur to them to do it? And yet-! Until they become conscious they will never rebel, and until after they have rebelled they cannot become conscious.

    back in the mother countr… • Since Feb 2007 • 2728 posts Report Reply

  • Biobbs, in reply to Kumara Republic,

    I don't know where certain people have gotten the idea that "eco-nuts" were responsible for Pike River happening because they wouldn't allow strip-mining

    From the Herald of course. With this piece of 'responsible journalism' just a few days after the event:

    http://www.nzherald.co.nz/nz/news/article.cfm?c_id=1&objectid=10690389

    - the blubbery one, Kiwibl*g, Paul Holmes (Herald again), and Gadsby (Letter to The Press) all chimed in and the meme spread rapidly from there.

    The River Mouth, Denmark • Since Jan 2011 • 114 posts Report Reply

  • Ian Dalziel,

    Real class...

    Key disagrees with critics who say drone killings are execution without trial, in which ordinary people are massacred.
    "For the most part drone strikes have been an effective way of prosecuting people that are legitimate targets," he said

    That man has a very warped idea of prosecution,
    must be some innovation by Minister Collins...

    Excellent work on Campbell Live last night
    Key so looks like he's evading something
    when asked about Ian Fletcher re GCSB job, etc..

    Here's hoping Key's patent-pending 'Wavium'
    won't continue to repel thrown mud...

    Christchurch • Since Dec 2006 • 7943 posts Report Reply

  • Bart Janssen, in reply to LanceWiggs,

    which will make company directors and officers accountable

    No it doesn't. All it does is force senior executives to ensure that they can prove they have told staff what should be done - if they can show that (sign in sheet for the seminar) they are absolved of liability.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 4458 posts Report Reply

  • giovanni tiso, in reply to Barnard,

    The idea that you could support the idea of marriage equality, for the identical reason you care about Pike river, namely justice, and that justice need not be tied to either class or narrow definitions of identify, or be limited by your own 'privilege' seems to have been lost by a lot of the modern left

    Marriage equality: nobody loses. Stronger unions, higher wages for low-paid professions, protection for workers (including protection of their employment through trade tariffs) are in the interest of some social groups, and against the interests of others. And for those who preach empathy as a workable political category, I'd point to the continuing demonisation of beneficiaries, and how it is subscribed to by many voters of nominally left wing parties.

    Wellington • Since Jun 2007 • 7473 posts Report Reply

  • Bob Williams,

    I first came to New Zealand in 1987 on holiday (I moved here the following year). In a dingy pub somewhere off Lambton Quay I got talking to a, then, fairly well known academic. I was given their business card. It said “Senior Lecturer in social stratification”. “What in God’s name is social stratification” I asked. “Class” they responded “but we’re not allowed to talk about class in New Zealand.” And so, in my twenty five years here, it has so proven.

    Wellington • Since Apr 2007 • 13 posts Report Reply

  • Steve Barnes,

    two tragedies are likely to spring to mind: the Canterbury earthquakes and Pike River Mine. Both struck the nation by surprise: prior to the first Canterbury quakes, no one even knew there was a fault line sitting restlessly below the Canterbury plains.

    No one?
    How about eCan back in 2008?

    CANTERBURY’S SHAKY HISTORY
    It is 80 years since Canterbury experienced a large,damaging
    earthquake. However, in the 70 years between 1860 and 1930, eight earthquakes caused significant building or contents
    damage in Canterbury.
    04 JUNE 1869
    NEW BRIGHTON
    DESCRIPTION Magnitude 5, epicentre around New
    Brighton, MM intensity 7-8 at New Brighton,
    intensity decreased rapidly away
    from Christchurch.
    DAMAGE Widespread chimney destruction,
    damage to stone buildings.

    31 AUGUST 1870
    LAKE ELLESMERE
    DESCRIPTION Magnitude 5.5, epicentre in the
    vicinity of Lake Ellesmere, MM intensity 6 in
    Christchurch, Lake Ellesmere and as far
    south as Rakaia, felt in Oamaru, Greymouth
    and Dunedin.
    DAMAGE Most damage in Christchurch and
    Lyttelton – household contents broken, chimneys
    destroyed, minor structural
    damage, rock falls.

    5 DECEMBER 1881
    CASTLE HILL
    DESCRIPTION Magnitude 6.2-6.3, MM intensity 7-8
    at epicentre, MM intensity 6 in Oxford and MM
    intensity 6-7 in Christchurch.
    DAMAGE Christ Church Cathedral spire damaged,
    broken windows, household contents, chimney
    damage, Avon River stopped fl owing.

    1 SEPTEMBER 1888
    NORTH CANTERBURY
    DESCRIPTION Magnitude 7-7.3, MM intensity 9
    at epicentre, MM intensity 5-7 in Christchurch,
    felt from Taranaki to Southland, surface rupture
    of the Hope Fault.
    DAMAGE Landslides and severe damage to
    buildings in the Amuri area, damage
    to Christ Church Cathedral spire,
    contents damaged.

    16 NOVEMBER 1901
    CHEVIOT
    DESCRIPTION Magnitude 6.5-7, epicentre near
    Parnassus, MM intensity 9 in Cheviot, MM
    intensity 6 in Christchurch, felt from New
    Plymouth to Dunedin.
    DAMAGE Widespread damage to contents, cracks
    to stone work, broken windows, damaged
    chimneys and damage to Christ Church Cathedral
    spire, liquefaction and lateral spreading reported
    along the Pegasus Bay coast, particularly in
    Kaiapoi.
    REPORTS “A terrible earthquake this morning at
    a quarter to eight. There is a mass of ruins at
    Cheviot…shook a traction engine over and a man
    out of his coffin.”

    As for Pike River…
    It was well known from previous mining disasters in the area, Brunner; 1896 and Strongman; 1967, that the seam was gaseous, hence; “A major feature of the underground works is a 110-metre (360 ft)-deep ventilation shaft. After local ground conditions were found to be worse than expected,” Here
    Worse than expected? you would have thought that would be the end of it but…

    one of the most telling features of the report is when it talks about an underviewer in April 2010 dealing with the amount of gas venting in the mine and writing an email to the board saying “methane showed no mercy’’.

    "Virtually nothing is a surprise here, except the emphatic nature of the conclusions reached.

    Here

    A gas blast at a mine in New Zealand that killed 29 workers was preventable, an investigation has found, with multiple warnings ignored.

    Health and safety systems at the Pike River mine were inadequate, and reports of excessive methane levels were “not heeded”.

    A drive for production “before the mine was ready” created the circumstances for the tragedy, the report found.

    Here

    "In the last 48 days before the explosion there were 21 reports of methane levels reaching explosive volumes, and 27 reports of lesser, but potentially dangerous, volumes,” the report said.

    “The reports of excess methane continued up to the very morning of the tragedy. The warnings were not heeded."

    (ref. as above)

    He said had he still been chief inspector of coal mines in 2008, he would not have allowed tunnelling through the Hawera fault line with only one entry to the mine.

    “PRC (Pike River Coal) did not seem to understand the seriousness of the gas risks in the mine, and how essential ventilation was, even at this early stage,’’ Mr Bell said.

    Here
    But that coal was worth so much money…. now that is a class act eh?.

    Peria • Since Dec 2006 • 5521 posts Report Reply

  • Ian Dalziel,

    Attachment

    Class action...
    As Jeffrey Paparoa Holman says, "this is a ballad designed to be read, aloud, in public places, an incantation, an imprecation almost, against the Medusa faces of corporate capitalism."

    Feel free to pass it on
    or print and put it up,
    people helping people...

    ( thanks to Phantom Billstickers' Cafe Reader )

    Christchurch • Since Dec 2006 • 7943 posts Report Reply

  • Danielle, in reply to Barnard,

    the idea no matter how enlightened men will always be part of the ‘patriarchy’, white people will always be part of a ‘white supremacy’

    So, basically what you're arguing here is that "identity politics" (for want of a better term) on the left is unable to distinguish between structural inequalities ("the patriarchy", "white supremacy") and the specific personal qualities of men or white people? If that's so, why is so much social justice theory based on challenging hegemonic ideas and structures, rather than accosting white dudes on the street and yelling "hey, you suck!"?

    In other words, I'm a bit dubious about that.

    Charo World. Cuchi-cuchi!… • Since Nov 2006 • 3828 posts Report Reply

  • Barnard,

    Why do it in the street when you've the internet & social media?
    Challenging 'hegemonic' ideas is all well & good, But finding examples of what I'm talking about isn't exactly difficult nor the idea that 'white liberals' are often the 'enemy'. Nor is the criticism that it leads to a regressive form of politics uncommon either.
    I understand the arguments just find it odd that if you frame your politics in those terms you're surprised when people retreat into their own narrow outlook.
    It seems people are happy to adapt some bits of Marxism but not the implication of those ideas.
    I might not agree with GT but at least there's a logical consistency.

    Wellington • Since Nov 2012 • 72 posts Report Reply

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