Updated: Nov 6
Andrew Little is retiring. He has had a tough time. But will it get worse?
He was the National Secretary of the mining engineers' union. Warnings about health and safety at Pike River came and went, MBIE (which was then the Department of Labour) were o.k. with it, and then the mine exploded. Men died. Oh no!
But Andrew Little became an MP. All Good So Far (at least for Andrew Little).
Lawyers Minter Ellison Rudd Watts passed all the Pike River Mine assets to another company without even paying the miners' wages owing, though we think they payed themselves! Nobody asked the Pike River directors any questions but then Chief Executive, Peter Whittall, was going to spill the beans in the criminal court. The deal with MBIE was, his insurance would pay the miners' wages owing and he would go to Australia. Huge public outcry. Oh no!
But the legal stuff was all wrapped up by the end of 2013. All good again. The public would forget.
And then, oh no! The families challenged the illegal deal and in 2017, they won at the Supreme Court. Andrew Little was Minister for Pike River Re-Entry, Minister for Justice, Minister for the Security Intelligence Services, Minister for the Government Communications Security Bureau. Pike River Mine was not re-entered. Minister Little got a Little help from a British academic to get an Act for Parliament through letting MBIE so they could be sure not to be caught for embezzlement and money laundering. The press agreed to keep quiet and the public would forget.
By 2021 it was all o.k. because the Supreme Court said actually secret illegal deals are okay. And so are spies, whatever. The legal stuff is all wrapped back up. Sweet As!
But now it's oh no again.
New Zealand managed to be very close to China and very close to the US and the UK. It managed to have Huawei everywhere and still be in the Five Eyes. It got millions from overseas billionaires who wanted big country houses away from droughts and wars and forest fires.
But now the US and the UK are investigating dodgy deals and dodgy politicians. Like New Zealand, they have done a lot of their corruption through employment law. There is more critical voice in those countries, but so far New Zealand is flying under their radar. But with more and more celebrities buying mansions in New Zealand, the focus is on us. And now there is going to be a major film about Pike River. What might come out now?
As Minister of Justice, Andrew Little did a lot of international work, advertising New Zealand's suppression laws ... which enable embezzlers, money launderers and sex offenders. Oh, no.
It's not surprising that this mild unassuming man is retiring literally now.