He also acknowledged that there are deficiencies in New Zealand’s mining safety regulations.
A Royal Commission inquiry is to investigate the Pike River coal mine accident, where 29 men lost their lives in November 2010.
Mr Key said he would not go into detail about allegations New Zealand mines lack equipment and procedures compulsory in Australian mines, but said “we do have to ask the question” about safety standards.”
He told the paper the Pike River mine, which was a single-entry uphill mine, “couldn’t have been constructed in Australia” as it would have been “illegal”.
“There will be changes in New Zealand,” he said.
These latest statements by John Key are in direct conflict with comments he made following the disaster, when he said New Zealand’s safety standards were equal to those of Australia.
The NZ Government has indicated that it may step in to make a condition that any sale of the Pike River Mine could be dependent on the 29 bodies being recovered.
The Australian Coal Miners’ union is insisting on a guarantee that the bodies are recovered before the mine is sold.
It was obvious from day one that there were serious health and safety deficiencies at the Pike River coal mine for an accident of this nature to have occurred.
For the Prime Minister to come out now and admit that the mine was not up to scratch by Australian standards is a sad indictment on a government that decided that the mining industry could regulate itself in New Zealand.
It is essential that the Royal Commission of Inquiry into the Pike River disaster is given broad enough terms of reference to ensure that all the facts leading up to the first explosion and the botched rescue effort are brought to light.
The New Zealand the government needs to put ‘real’ first world standards back in place in our mining industry, especially in construction, operation, environmental care, and health and safety.
If anyone does not agree with my statements that there were major health and safety shortcomings at the Pike River mine and that the rescue effort was completely botched then please comment because I am happy to debate the issue.
Nothing is more tragic than when workers lose their lives through shortcuts taken by employers who never themselves end up in danger.