13 Nov 2013

Labour says PM must ensure Pike families get money

9:12 pm on 13 November 2013

The Labour Party says Prime Minister John Key must require Government-owned shareholders of Pike River Coal to make sure the families of men killed at the mine get their full court-ordered compensation.

Twenty-nine men died after a series of explosions at the West Coast mine that began on 19 November 2010.

Pike River Coal was convicted this year of nine offences under the Health and Safety in Employment Act.

Pike River Coal is in receivership, but a judge awarded $3 million in reparation to the victims' families in the hope its directors or shareholders might contribute.

In Parliament on Tuesday, Labour leader David Cunliffe asked Mr Key if he accepted that the Superfund and the Accident Compensation Corporation are parent shareholders of Pike River Coal, which received $80 million in insurance payouts which were not passed on to the families.

Mr Key replied that he was not aware of the claims and maintains that compensation awarded should be serviced by the company, not the Crown.

The New Zealand Superfund says it has not received an insurance payment. The Superfund has a 1% shareholding in NZ Oil & Gas which has a 29% stake in Pike River Coal.