The Pike River families are right. Individuals should be held accountable even where there were systemic problems within the former Department of Labour. The Independent Investigation Report into the Pike River Tragedy identified the individuals who made decisions not to provide additional resourcing for the Mines Inspectorate and who failed to act on the concerns of the Mines Inspectors.
However, the Investigators were not asked to look at the politicians that made the decisions about Department of Labour funding and the failure to re-regulate. Nor were the Investigators asked to look at the responsibility that Treasury has, who oversaw the funding allocation to the Department of Labour.
It is not good enough to simply absolve individuals of their responsibility solely because the problems were systemic. A less timid and broader investigation needs to take place that encompasses political and administrative accountability.