Thanks Tracy - much appreciated! (And good points!)
Sorry Tracy, but you pushed some of my buttons! I don't think it's fair to accuse the Green Party of "foot shuffling" on this issue. Indeed, working to uncover what had occurred at Pike River, and then to achieve mine safety improvements, has been one of my main areas of work as an MP. You'll find a lot of the detail at www.greens.org.nz/pikeriver if you're interested, but the key points were our involvement in getting the Royal Commission established in the first place, our exposing some of the health and safety issues in the mine, forcing the Government to establish the High Hazards Unit, and then forcing (or at least being a significant contributory factor) the Government to overhaul Occupational Safety and Health legislation and underground mining regulations.
My huge frustration is that nobody at all has been held accountable (apart, I guess, from Valley Longwall, who in the scheme of things were a minor offender). I focused on trying to have the Department of Labour held to account, entirely without success. I was angry and exasperated that Gordon Ward and the owners and directors of PRC were not charged, but it never occurred to me that Peter Whittall would not be. He's now back in Australia, available to work on, amongst other mining-related work, health and safety.
Di's post is really interesting. I guess I became involved because I'm the MP who lives closest to the mine, and I knew a number of those who died and their families. I probably wouldn't have been involved otherwise, but it's not really my portfolio and I hope our Party would have taken on the issues anyway. As someone who is probably more associated with "identity politics" I really don't see a distinction between those civil and political rights, and the economic rights of workers - they all fall under a human rights umbrella if we choose to pitch them that way.