When it's a tragic accident like an airliner crash and people are killed there is, naturally enough, an inclination to tread lightly around the event and to steer clear of the more sensitive stuff.
But there's still a journalistic job to be done and this writer has been more than a little uneasy about some of the comments coming from Air New Zealand boss Rob Fyfe.
Sure, he's upset about what has happened and clearly the company are doing whatever they can to assist the families involved.
That said I found Fyfe's comments about the 'Air New Zealand family' coming togther in a time of tragedy more than a little unpalatable. Frankly they were nauseating.
Is this the same 'family' which just some ten days ago received news from Fyfe that two hundred of them were going to lose their jobs? Not a particularly jolly Christmas present for the 'family members' concerned.
Fyfe also warned that he couldn't guarantee there wouldn't be further job cuts in the future.
The Aviation and Marine Engineers Association has accused Fyfe of using the economic crisis as a convenient excuse to make unnecessary job cuts.
Indeed since he started in the job back in 2005 Fyfe has been more the family tyrant than the cuddly uncle.
To quote from NZ Management (September 5, 2006):
'Ever since he took over as Air New Zealand CEO at the end of last year, he's waved the company axe over pretty much everyone and everything. Engineers, marketing, human resources, finance, cleaners and ground staff.'
And with the help of the dismal bureaucrats in the Engineering, Printing and Manufacturing Union (EPMU), Fyfe was able to force Air New Zealand engineers to 'agree' to reduced pay and conditions . Fyfe's ultimatum? Accept the new condiitons or you're jobs will be outsourced.
And Fyfe also had to furiously backpedal when it was revealed that Air New Zealand had been underpaying its Chinese workers to the tune of four times less than their New Zealand counterparts.
I guess there's family and there's family...