Pike River coal mine – ‘a gas bomb waiting to go off’

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The Socialist Equality Group in New Zealand held an online public meeting last Saturday to launch the new book, Pike River: The Crime and Cover-up, by leading SEG member Tom Peters, published by Mehring Books.

The book contains 20 articles, interviews and speeches originally published on the World Socialist Web Site, from its archive of more than 70 articles on the disaster, as well as a selection of letters from about 100 that were posted on the WSWS in support of the victims’ families.

In the video above, author Tom Peters outlines the timeline of the disaster and the cover-up. His presentation was a devastating indictment of the entire political establishment, the justice system, state regulators and the police, as well as the unions.

He focuses on the role of the Ardern government and the Engineering, Printing and Manufacturing Union (EPMU), now called E tū.

Labour campaigned in the 2017 election with a promise to re-enter Pike River mine and search for human remains and vital evidence, in order to lay charges over the disaster.

Peters says the families’ hopes were “cruelly betrayed,” as the government permanently sealed the mine in 2021 after only exploring the drift (entry tunnel), without entering the mine workings where the men died and crucial evidence is located.

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