Prime Minister John Key stopped
to talk to the Pike River families at a silent protest today,
but did not talk directly to Jo Hall, the mother of Judd Hall
who was described as a "feral" by Whaleoil blogger Cam
The families were not on Mr Key's agenda, but several staged
a silent protest outside Development West Coast where he was
due to make an announcement.
When he arrived he went to talk to spokesman Bernie Monk and
answered questions from Anna Osborne, whose husband died in
Ms Hall stood silently in the background. She has questioned
Key over comments Cameron Slater claimed the Prime Minister
said, and which were revealed in the Dirty Politics book
after Slater called her son a "feral."
Mr Key did not speak to her directly and it is unclear
whether he recognised her. Speaking to media afterwards, Mr
Key denied he had told Mr Slater that Ms Hall had screamed at
him in meetings with the families.
"It is not true I made any disparaging comments. The only
comment I made was that I recognised her."
He said he did not recall her shouting at him in meetings.
Speaking afterwards, Ms Hall said she hoped Mr Key's denial
Mr Monk pleaded for help in getting answers from Solid Energy
over the latest delay to plans to re-enter the drift. Mr Key
said it was up to Solid Energy to make the decisions about
safety. He said he did not know what safety issues Solid
Energy was still concerned about, but they had a new chief
executive and board chair who were still working their way
She said she was frustrated by Solid Energy's repeated delays
on work to re-enter the drift, for which it has cited safety
concerns and wanted Mr Key to ask more question of Solid
Energy. She said she appreciated the Government offering
financial support to reenter the mine, but Solid Energy was
"He needs to go back and ask them why? Why has this been
pushed out again?"
Ms Osborne said afterward she was worried the miners'
families were being forgotten by New Zealand. "I want to
plead to the nation that they don't forget about us, they
don't forget about the Pike River families because sometimes
I feel like we have vanished, because people move on. We
can't move on. We're still stuck in this rut and we can't
move on until we get what we want, and that is our men home."
As Mr Key left, she called out "don't forget about us John."
He replied: "I won't."
- By Claire Trevett of
the NZ Herald