Let’s talk about White Island, Pike River and she’ll be right Capitalism


The collapse of cases against White Island Operators in the wake of the terrible volcanic explosion was always a quixotic gesture as Work Save scrambled to work out who was really at fault in our poorly regulated, poorly structured she’ll be right Capitalism.

The idea that we had been allowing tourists to traipse around a live active volcano was always fraught, but add in lax rules and someone had to be blamed for such a casual attitude towards safety.

That was the lesson from Pike River as well, our poorly regulated capitalism makes things voluntary rather than mandatory and its laxness is damaging the environments people work in.

Our worker death rate remains one of the worst in the OECD.

The limited number of inspectors MBIE has is about to be slashed if ACT and National win election, meaning our poorly policed regulations will become even more lax!

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We’ve seen with the immigration exploitation recently the cost of lax regulation.

This lack of regulation doesn’t just risk lives, it mutates markets as well.

We’ve seen it in the Drainage Industry, the Supermarket Duopoly, the Petrol Oligopoly and many other industries where crony capitalism and market dominance rob consumers of actual competition.

If Labour win the next election, regulating capitalism and ensuring small to medium business can compete fairly in the domestic market is a must.

If the Right win, expect fewer regulations and far more Old Boy Crony Capitalism.


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  1. Didn’t Andrew Little sign off on safety at the Pike River mine?
    AND he ended up in charge of the ‘recovery’….now that may be cronyism, but certainly is hypocrisy and indeed criminal!

      • If Pike River was in Russia, the mine would have likely already been re opened, the cops would have done a scene examination, and responsible parties would now be sitting in gaol. But in NZ, when sections of the public service like MBIE have some oversight responsibility, such as ensuring there is a functioning emergency exit, suddenly you have nepotism and conflict of interest and wanting to pass the buck considerations, also known as corruption, and matters get mysteriously left not properly investigated, or left too late to be properly investigated. Evidenced by the abuse in care inquiry. There’s no point asking the management, what the management did incorrectly, you need independent investigation. The answer, is to just do things correctly, but this is unlikely. When you have bad practises continuing, and those behind it knowing they won’t be held to account, and therefore will continue to cut corners or turn a blind eye. You will have more Pike River’s, White Island’s, Cave Creek’s, and abuse in care, to come to light in future, and it’s just a matter of waiting. If you report bad practices to someone in authority, they need to act on it, or themselves face consequences, but it’s simply not the case. Having some of the worst corruption, in one of the least corrupt countries, is a facade.

      • Ignore Im righ,t he is the consummate idiot troll. Putting facts in front of him will be a head fuck.

        • Bert, you can’t help yourself….new name of ‘National are squeaky Clean’, but still going back and leaving posts 2-3 days after the thread posted…lol
          I will post to your posts for no other reason that it annoys you Bert.

    • When did AL sign-off on safety at Pike River? Was it the safety of the recovery that you are referring to? If so, that was actually carried out safely.
      AL was never a Mines Inspector, so I find your comment bazaar and conclussion confusing to say the least.

      • He was in charge of the union that was meant to protect the workers. CZould he have done more to ensure the mine was save is for others to say who k ow more than I do .

    • Well Bob if this is the case why did these businesses take government money during covid. Best then they pay it back. No we know they won’t do that because the majority of them are bloody hypocrites.

      • Very good point Queeny!

        And not only did small businesses ,and large businesses, take the money, but then complained that the government has been spending too much of the taxpayer’s money…..
        conveniently forgetting, that it was …on them

      • I keep hearing we got these Govt hand outs. All we got offered was a loan big enough to pay the rent for 4 whole days, apart from that we got $0.00.

        The staff got a small part of their wages covered for some of the time which is fair enough as the Govt told them not to work but we, BUSINESS, had to top them up to the tune of many $1000 per week or they couldn’t afford to live. That’s called subsiding the NZ Government.

        But a few businesses did get many millions, they were the Governments mates though.

    • If some capitalist had saved their business from bankruptcy during a pandemic they would be forever grateful. Of course, there were no capitalists lining up to do that. The Labour government just gave them free money not a loan with interest. Forever ungrateful.

      I guess extreme free market ACT would have just denied them liquidity and let them wilt on the vine until a death caused by small government.

  2. Small and medium businesses did not want to give their low paid workers a pay rise. I have worked in hospitality, retail and the manufacturing industry bloody hard yakka not for the faint hearted. Some of our factories have poor health and safety practices.

      • What is the name of your business so we can fact check. Judging by your posts I find it highly unlikely Maggie.

        • You work for a Govt agency Bert, you mentioned it before…you were paid for being at home, no small business with limited funds paying you!

  3. The current regulatory regime which preaches that companies will automagically carry out safe work practices (because of the costs associated with accidents) has once again exposed as a total myth.
    Companies (managers and owners) are only interested in this year’s balance sheet; safe work practices require investment which is a cost that negatively impacts on current profits so will, wherever possible, be avoided.
    Also, the belief that ‘private’ audit companies have the same compliance clout as Government Inspectors is also a nonsense. The audit companies are also driven by the same profit pressures as the companies they are auditing. Self-funding Government agencies also suffer from similar pressures.

  4. i don’t wanna pay tax
    get the gubbbermint out of my business
    natural disaster

    Wankers all, who get what they want

  5. It’s the wild west in some cases … definitely circumstances where u need basic regulated capitalism… Nothing that’s going to stop the profits and taxes flowing, but enough to protect the public.

  6. After being told at the beginning and during the second phase of neo liberal reforms we should no longer rely on the government but take personal responsibility for ourselves for everything meant as the state withdrew from funding services and handed the responsibility of everything to the market and cheap contactors which means run everything at the lowest cost regardless of the service or business.

    Even Bolger said in 1995 after Cave Creek that a bag full of bolts instead of nails would have prevented the viewing platform giving way and sending all those people to their death and he oversaw the biggest reduction in state spending in the budgets his government supported in 1990-95.

    This free market economy encourages what has always been the Kiwi trait of just hoping for the best and if it goes wrong run the other way and sure in the knowledge you will not be accountable for your actions.

    Were so laid back and will not be told by authority that we are in some way in the wrong ….its our right to do as we want and we won’t be told.

    When disasters do happen like the Carterton hot air balloon disaster people from overseas who had family members killed were shocked and appalled by the lack of safety and blaise attitude of the authorities and the government agencies involved that allowed that disaster to happen.

    Number 8 wire mentality a throwback to the colonial settlers still applies today.

    All that has happened in these avoidable disasters with loss of human life is show that we do not value life or take real risk seriously and that is right across the board like in our sentencing laws , work safety , non police enforcement with road safety all in the name of ensuring costs are low , doing more with less and screwing every bit of profit you can and to hell with responsibility to the victims.

    NZ Inc means do it and don’t get caught …..the law won’t hold you accountable anyway. Its a win win.

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