Of course I am talking about the (unarguably tragic) death of Folole Muliaga.
The hyperbole surrounding this situation is amazing, with Mercury energy and it’s contractor being called murderers and calls for knee jerk changes to avoid situations like this in the future.
DPF has, as usual, a great analysis of this situation over on his blog. But from my own perspective;
1) We don’t know the cause of death (and as a qualified paramedic it would surprise me if the removal of the oxygen backup machine caused sufficient damage to lead to death), finding the cause is the job of the coroner, not the media
2) The family were in fact in arrears on their power bill
3) It would appear that Mercury energy fulfilled their own process for advising the family of impending termination of supply
4) In this country there are a plethora of community groups who would help in this sort of situation – it appears none were informed of what was occurring
In any case, until the police and coroner have done their work, Mercury and the contractor have a right to due process and we should avoid making hasty, and uninformed, judgements.
The right wing amongst us would say that Mercury energy is a business and as such has no place subsidising the electricity supply of those unable or unwilling to pay. Perhaps a little too Adam Smith for modern society but some of the hyperbole surrounding this debate is a little too Karl Marx for modern society as well.