Tuesday, 18 April 2006

The Berrymans still fighting

If you hadn't seen the story over the weekend, lawyer Rob Moodie has filed suit against the Army for $4.5 million on behalf of Keith and Margaret Berryman.
Keith and Margaret Berryman are suing the New Zealand army for about $4.5 million 12 years after a beekeeper died when his truck fell through an army-built bridge leading to their King Country farm...

Taumarunui coroner Tim Scott blamed the Berrymans for not maintaining the bridge.

But since Dr Moodie took over the case in 2004, it has emerged that the Defence Force kept information from the coroner that laid some of the blame with the army engineers who designed and built the bridge as a training exercise.

The Solicitor-General has declined four applications by the Berrymans for a new inquest.

Speaking this morning. "Mr Moodie says the Berrymans have taken the blame for too long and they deserve justice." Too right. And Keith Berryman himself argues that Helen Clark has abandoned them “She said the charges should never have been laid; now we don’t hear anything from her. She’s turned.” She certainly has. In 1998 in the midst of a hard-fought by-election Helen Clark declared, "Labour's by-election campaign has been about putting the heart back into the country, and giving hard-working people such as Keith and Margaret Berryman a fair go." In 2000 Helen Clark stood on the Berryman's bridge with Mark Burton and Harry Duynhoven and promised "when I become Prime Minister, I will ensure the Government will settle the Berrymans for this outrage."


Talk about politicians' empty promises. Eight years after her first promise the Berrymans have yet to receive even the steam off Helen Clark's piss. "The government has made an offer of compensation to the Berrymans and it's up to the Berrymans to consider that," said "a spokesman for the Prime Minister" over the weekend. What that spokesman didn't say is what I pointed out here last year,
that the $150,000 offered to the Berrymans by her Government in 'mediation' is a sick joke. It does not even cover their $450,000 legal bills, does not begin to compensate for the loss of their farm (which conservative estimates say might now be worth $2.5 million), and in no way compensates for the ten years of hell both Labour and National Governments have put this couple through.
Good on Rob Moodie for not giving up on this even when all around him are falling asunder. Perhaps it might spark a similar backdown as happened recently with the long-running Contaminated Blood Scandal.

LINKS: Berrymans seeking $4.5m damages from Army - NZ Herald
Couple suing army over bridge collapse -
Helen Clark: Berryman case highlights abandonment of rural NZ - Not PC
Berrymans say PM has abandoned them -
NZ Herald
$10m payout for victims of tainted transfusions - Sunday Star Times

TAGS: Politics-NZ, Politics-Labour, Berrymans


  1. It's worth reading the book written about the incident.
    The book was titled "Into the abyss" by Hugh de lacy

  2. Here's my take. Old bridge is built to last out of heart black pine [matai]. New bridge built out of oregon. Does not have the durability of its predecessor nor the strength of real north american douglas fir. Quietly succumbs to rot, victim hits it at a higher than safe speed and perishes. OSH homes in like a bloody vulture and puts the boot in. Berrymans hounded to ruin.
    Army performs escape and evade manouver.
    The Army is an institution that prides itself on training: where every man does his job and can be relied upon. Every man accepts responsibility for his part of the chain, no excuses.

    Not this lot.

    They climbed on a wagon that is hauling-arse out of town with the likes of the Dear Leader and OSH for fellow passengers.

    Go for them Rob, and don't back off.

  3. OSH need to be nailed to the wall on this one too



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