Spring Creek miner's 5th redundancy
Tue, 25 Sep 2012 6:07p.m.
By Brook Sabin
West Coast miners say they felt as if their hearts were ripped out at Parliament today, when a plan to save Solid Energy's Spring Creek Mine was rejected by the Government.
A small group marched to the Beehive with hope, but it didn't last long.
The 20 miners had one goal – to save their mine. Among them was 67-year-old Les Neilson, the oldest miner on the West Coast. Since 1959, he has worked in 15 mines and been made redundant at four of them.
But he never thought Spring Creek would be mothballed.
“They've got to think about the whole outfit and the destroying of the West Coast environment,” he says. “It's not only the miners. We can go right down to the girls who wash the overalls.”
Solid Energy has announced around 450 jobs will go nationwide. On the West Coast, more than 200 jobs will go.
But miners, led by Grey District mayor Tony Kokshoom, marched on Parliament today with a $35 million plan.
“They need to inject some capital into the company to reap the rewards like any other business would into the future,” says Mr Kokshoom.
There was hope as they ascended the Beehive, but that was soon dashed with an announcement by State-Owned Enterprises Minister Tony Ryall: “There will be no one-off capital injection.”
Mr Ryall blamed one thing, 13 times – the drop off in the coal price. Miners weren't happy.
“I think it went in one ear and out the other, a bit like a subway in Auckland,” says Spring Creek miner Trevor Bolderson.
So Mr Neilson leaves Parliament redundant for his fifth and final time. He says it was lip service.
“They knew what they were going to do,” says Mr Neilson. “They weren't going to change anything.”
So the long road back to Greymouth starts tonight, and many of the miners say when they get back the first thing they'll be doing is buying a one-way ticket to Australia.
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26/09/2012 10:30:36 a.m.
No-one owes you a living. The profitability of coal-mining is totally dependent on the cost (NZ wages)and the revenue (Asian need for coal.) China and India don't want our expensive coal right now, so don't complain to the Gummint about it. If you think you can do better then put some of your high wages into a privately-owned mine (like Roa.)
25/09/2012 9:04:24 p.m.
Just Me wrote:
Tony Ryall meeting with the 20 miners was just a formality.He had already made his decision and come Hell or high water he wasn't going to or intending to change his mind.This is an attitude and approach throughout this entire National government.For example they fully intend to go ahead with closing schools in the Canterbury region(another approach to the Teacher-Pupil ratio planned for earlier this year nationwide).They fully intend to go ahead with state asset sales to the highest bidders overseas.They do not have any intention on listening to say the Maori King,the Waitangi Tribunal or the Maori Council.They have made their decisions and that is all that matters to them.
For those in the Greymouth region who voted National in last years' election I hope you can live with your actions. You voted in a bunch of sharks who do not care two hoots how or what you feel.It does not concern them or affect them.They,the politicians of this government,are secure in their jobs at the present moment.What you are going through is the least of their concerns.National blamed Labour for the placing of our troops in Afghanstian.They will never ever take responsibility for their actions.And Tony Ryall blaming the 'drop off in the coal price' is another excuse.The fact is nothing is ever the fault of this National government.It is always someone else's fault and never their own.
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