Editorial: Time to move on for Pike families

PETER O'NEILL
Last updated 05:00 07/11/2014

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Sitting on the opposite coast to the Pike River mine it is easy to see the logic of Solid Energy's decision not to re-enter the mine tunnel.

OPINION: Imagine if more people died in a recovery attempt.

And while disappointed, even the families seem to accept that the bodies of 29 men will remained entombed below forest-clad hills.

For some families, that will mean a lack of closure. For others, it will bring closure, as is the case for South Canterbury parents Rod and Christine Holling.

This is the final decision, this is the way things are. The miners do have a resting place, it is just not where the families might choose.

And the families are tired. It is just shy of four years since the explosions.

Spokesperson Bernie Monk summed it up well: "I've got to start asking myself, do I want to go through another three or four years of agony." Harsh as it sounds, those left have lives of their own to get on with.

Totally understandable though is the wish for some to still want someone/some entity to be held accountable.

One thing to lose a loved one and not be able to retrieve the body, another thing again that no one is blamed. Especially as fault clearly exists.

Prime Minister John Key was full of sympathy yesterday, but while he's made noises that he'll get government law experts to investigate civil proceedings, that has to be more than lip service.

Key is right though that a corporate manslaughter charge is unlikely. That would have to be passed into law first and is not a charge you could bring retrospectively.

In all likelihood nothing further will happen, but that does not mean the men will be forgotten.

This disaster is a stain on the country's history, and there will be changes in some quarters because of it.

And the fact that 29 bodies are still together where they died can't but help us remember them.

Another thing: The fact 95 per cent of swimming pools audited by the Timaru District Council fail spot inspections is not surprising, but is worrying.

It's not surprising because many of the faults will be minor things, but worrying because even these could lead to a child gaining access and therefore become a drowning candidate.

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- The Timaru Herald

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