Friday, January 6, 2012

NZ Totalitarian Regime

The heading is perhaps a bit strong but the refusal of visas to the MV Rena crew being kept in NZ awaiting further charges and trial is very reminiscent of states like Iran, Saudi Arabia and the like. Here we have two crew members who in all honesty did a stupid thing and grounded their ship. That caused some inconvenience to locals who had to clean up the beaches and it killed some wild life. In the greater scheme of things, big deal! The captain and the navigation officer were arrested the grounding, charged under the Maritime Transport Act for "operating a vessel in a manner causing unnecessary danger or risk". Charges carry a maximum penalty of up to 12 months in prison or a fine up to $10,000. They were also charged under the Resources Management Act for the "discharge of harmful substances from ships or offshore installations", carrying a maximum penalty of a $300,000, or two years' imprisonment, and $10,000 for every day the offending continues. Last month, the captain faced four fresh charges, and the navigation officer faced three more after it emerged that they had allegedly altered the ship's documents in the wake of the grounding. While all that seems very clear and not disputable, why stop their spouses from visiting them? NZ immigration said as a general rule a visitor's visa would not automatically be granted to the spouse of a person facing court action, simply for the purpose of visiting that person. When other countries do this NZers in general think this is disgraceful and I for one think the NZ Government is acting in a disgraceful manner in this instance. In comparison we have the owner operators of Pike River, operating a mine in a dangerous manner killing 29 men, no one is being detained, all those responsible are free to come and go as they please. The NZ Government official responsible for overseeing safety standards goes scot-free, he should at least face civil proceeding for not carrying out his official responsibility in a proper manner and the government should be held liable for not ensuring that their departments are working to a world class level. The head of the government department responsible for work place safety should most definitely lose his job for negligence. The management of the mine should be facing manslaughter charges for ignoring warnings from staff regarding safety in the mine and the worker who claimed he was intimidated by management should also be charges with actions or in his case none action likely to cause death or serious injury for being too lily livered to stand up to management and not calling the miners out of the mine until the safety process, procedures and equipment etc was in place. When you compare these two cases it becomes evident that the Government through its agencies places greater importance on a bit of sand and a few sea birds than it does on the loss of life through its own inaction. If that isn't the case then perhaps it is because the crew members from the MV Rena are from the Philippines and are foreign nationals, somewhat racist I think! Perhaps the heading should be 'NZ Racist Regime'.

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