11 Dec 2012

Pike directors callous, says Rockhouse

5:00 pm on 11 December 2012

Comments made by former directors of the Pike River Coal company are callous, says the father of a man who died in the Pike River mine.

Three directors of the now-defunct Pike River Coal company have criticised rulings by the Royal Commission which inquired into the fatal explosions at the mine in November 2010. A methane explosion killed 29 men on 19 November 2010 and put the company out of business.

The former directors - John Dow, Ray Meyer and Stuart Nattrass - released a statement on Wednesday, disagreeing with the commission that the company put production ahead of the safety of its workers and contractors.

But Neville Rockhouse, whose son Ben died, says the commission's report was a correct assessment of the situation. He says he's not sure why the trio decided to release their statement just two days after the second anniversary of the explosion.

The directors accused the Royal Commission of conjecture, unmerited opinions and accepting inaccurate and flawed evidence in its report on the disaster at the mine.

They say they take exception to the ruling that the company put production ahead of safety. The directors say safety was always their highest priority and the commission's finding conflicts with the evidence.

The three said the commission's view appears to be based only on conjecture or impression, and does not identify evidence showing safety was not met for financial reasons. They say the Royal Commission did not question company financial staff or review financial documents.