Heather du Plessis-Allan: Why I'm uncomfortable with the White Island investigation

Author
Heather du Plessis-Allan,
Publish Date
Fri, 4 Dec 2020, 4:28PM

Heather du Plessis-Allan: Why I'm uncomfortable with the White Island investigation

Author
Heather du Plessis-Allan,
Publish Date
Fri, 4 Dec 2020, 4:28PM

I’m very uncomfortable about the way the investigation into Whakaari White Island’s eruption is playing out, including the charges that have been laid.

As we’ve seen this week, charges have been laid against 13 different parties over the eruption, that includes GNS and one of the pilots that actually rescued people, Mark Law. A friend of his is now trying to raise money to help him defend himself. Now Mark hasn’t been charged for the rescue, but from the sounds of things, he’s been charged over his safety plans in possibly the days and weeks in the lead up to the eruption.

So, according to him, Worksafe originally alleged he hadn't properly implemented an asbestos plan and hadn't properly maintained a gas mask 

In the end, he says, he's been charged for not keeping staff and tourists safe.

Really? Are these the most concerning aspects from that day? The priorities here seem to be completely out of whack. Surely the biggest concern from that day is not whether Mark Law adequately assessed asbestos?

But what led to the decision to stop rescuers from going out there to save hurt people. Is this not the question we want answered?  Don’t we want to actually know whether if we’re hurt, or someone we love is hurt, our rescuers will come? That question can be answered through a royal commission, or even a lower level investigation. And it should be, it should be scrutinised. Because it was wrong.

Even St John now admit they’ve could’ve gone to the Island sooner. But that investigation has been ruled out by the PM.  And that says to me we’ve got this all wrong, we’re charging heroes, instead of asking why they had to be heroes, because rescuers weren’t allowed to turn up.