Pike River families to be given keys to mine gate

Remigio Civitarese
Novembre 20, 2017

The Coalition government is setting up a new standalone department, the Pike River Recovery Agency, Te Kahui Whakamana Rua Tekau ma Iwa - but it still may not send anyone into the mine, where 29 miners died.

She said the agency will look to re-enter the mine by March 2019.

Ms Ardern has stated that safety is a priority in the re-entry and isn't able to promise the families that the bodies will be able to be recovered.

Asked if it wasn't a Labour Party election commitment to re-enter the mine, she says that is what her "absolute ambition is".

The prime minister reiterated that there "will be risks" but it's the new agency's job will be to mitigate them as much as possible and to weigh up the "acceptable level of risk".

"We all know, and we've known for seven years that what happened at Pike River was totally preventable, totally avoidable and it was a gross act of corporate negligence that led to it - and we haven't got all the answers yet", Mr Little, a former union boss, said.

"The standalone department will ensure resources are not diverted to other activities, and will provide accountability to Parliament".

"The public can be confident that we are committed to transparent and impartial decision-making, based on robust advice about feasibility, safety and cost", Mr Little said.

Little told the Herald he put a tentative date of early to mid next year on it and hopes to take his recommendations for membership and structure of the new Pike River Agency next week.

She said it was possible there was information the Government was not aware of, or expert advice that countered the advice the families had.

Ardern said it was paramount for the Government to include the families of those who lost men to the disaster, as they had been kept at arm's length by the previous Government.

"Any decision to re-enter will be based on a thorough technical assessment of the risks and advice on how the risks can be mitigated".

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