PIKE RIVER COVER UP
CAMPBELL LIVE & THE TPPA
The Herald reports “MediaWorks management viewed Campbell Live’s crusading journalism as a liability that stretched audience patience, company sources stated. The show’s ongoing coverage of Pike River, where 29 men died in a 2010 explosion at a West Coast coal mine, was specifically singled out by management as having led to viewer “fatigue. .. The term “fatigue” struck a sour note last night with Bernie Monk, spokesman for families of the dead mine workers. “Sure Campbell Live covered a lot of it but TV One did a hell of a lot too and they are still willing to do that….Campbell Live was a great ally in getting the truth out and I felt he was never over the top or on a crusade by any means”.
Of course US investment house Oaktree Capital is the owner of restructure Mediaworks ( as amean to avoid 22 million in taxs and 700 million owed to other investor under Joyce leadership as CEO of Mediaworks) which includes Radio Live and TV3. Oaktree Capital has a tradition for investing in firms with with strong ties to Oil and Gas industry. The words “energy” appear 58 times on their page promoting Oaktree portfolio for companies including; Energy Solutions International, Inc -oil and gas , GoodCents -energy utilities, Kirlin construction for military and private contractors, OpTerra Energy Group renewable energy sources, Osmose Holdings, Inc.utility services, Remedial Construction Services, L.P.Remedial Construction Services, L.P. (RECON) Construction for the energy sector RSH Energy oil and gas ,Shermco maintenance, repair, engineering, training and commissioning services for low, medium and high voltage electrical equipment, including substations, switchgear, transformers, motors and generators, Solomon Corporation the leading provider of refurbishment, repair and salvage services for electrical transformers and related oil-filled equipment.
Of course in this context one would not imagine Campbell continued spot lighting of the Pike River mining disaster and the subsequent cover up would be too appealing to the new masters of Mediaworks. It was on Campbell Live that miner Marty Palmer revealed that not only was it possible to enter the mine safely at Pike River (which the goverment promised it would do and which the new owners Mecury pledge in writing to do “if it was safe”) Palmer telling NZ, via Campbell, that even if they could not get the bodies they would be able to recover equipment to make it possible to ascertain what exactly did happen at the mine.
Why was the goverment so reluctant to bring the 29 home?
The answer can be found buried in the middle of the Royal Commision report where Daniel Rockhouse testifys he spoke to the watch house about the explosion.
“After a minute or two breathing the fresh air and relieving the stinging of his eyes, Daniel Rockhouse looked for a telephone. Just inbye of his loader he located telephone 353 and rang the emergency number, 555. The telephone rang, but no one answered before the call was diverted to an answering service. He then dialled 410, the control room number. Mr Duggan answered the phone. Daniel Rockhouse said he was not injured, but that he could not see or breathe. At this point Mr White took the telephone, was told that the air seemed to be clearing and instructed Daniel Rockhouse to ‘stay low’, get to the FAB about 500m outbye and make contact from there.17
40. There is no record of the telephone call, or of its timing. However, it is apparent that Daniel Rockhouse made the call at approximately 4:40pm and that Mr Duggan answered it soon after his call to St John Ambulance. Immediately after Mr Strydom contacted him, Mr Duggan telephoned the MRS at 4:26pm. He then called and spoke to the St John operator until 4.39pm, twice mentioning he had not heard from anyone underground. Had Daniel Rockhouse already rung Mr Duggan, he would undoubtedly have said so“.
If you check the foot noting (17), which accompanies this testimony, you will see an interesting point the communcation system between the underground and up top include timed transcripts. Thats is in all cases except the Rockhouse Duggan conversation. Yet even if this can be explained away by a technical issue the first part where Rockhouse reports he was diverted to an answer phone confirms their is a means of gaging the precise time of this call after all. Thus the time line provided by the mining firm is therefore a deliberate work of fiction. Why a record of the call made to the emergency line diverted to an answer service is not in the record is the smoking gun which proves proof positive that a cover up did indeed take place at Pike River. The govermments motive to particpate with an act of homicide is it wish to hide the failing of a corporate self regulated mining industry which might help get Kiwi sufficently stirred up to prevent the singing of the Trans Pacific Partnership agreement (TPPA).
So how exactly does this all link to the TPPA, a treaty so lacking in public transparency our elected officals are not even allowed to tell the people they work for what is in it?
Suppose New Zealand signs on to the secret TPPA, and then a foreign mining company or firm involved in drilling comes here, lured by the current Government’s support for mining. Then lets say there is a change of Government, and the new Government, spured on by the like of Campbell coverage of Pike River, sets out to regulate mining more tightly and make sure companies are liable for workers safety.
Those measures would reduce the foreign company’s profits and under the TPPA, according to documents leaked about the accord to date, the company could then sue the New Zealand government in an international court of arbitration over which New Zealand has no control. This has happened, for example, with Oceana Gold, the Gold mining company which operates Macraes Mine among others in New Zealand. The firm is now suing the Government of El Salvador over its refusal to issue a mining permit. The adjudicators of this process would not be actual judges educated in the rule of law but instead corporate executives pick to insure the wants of the coporate shareholder ride rough sod over the needs of the general public.
The last thing this goverment wants therefore is in depth journalism. The kind of journalist who will make the people are aware of just how bad the TPPA will be for NZ in terms of national soveriginity, workers safety and enviromental consequences. Any thing which high lights how insane it would be be for our government to sign this treaty is a clear and present danger to this National government. Thus John Campbell, whose Campbell Live reports on Child Poverty, the expansion of the GCSB, which are all in some way linked to this most draconnian treaty had to go. This is what we have to look forward too in the future when the TPPA (currently subject to a virtual NZ media embargo*) gets signed. No workers right, no workers safety, no recourse to take action when abuses do unfold, with no independent media left in the country to report on corporate crimes when they do take place. God defend NZ because no one else will.
* For example you will not that Herald showed footage of Paul Henry accosted by protester outside the Sky City Casino but it did not report what the protest was about or make any conection to the incident in reference to the TPPA.