Wellington, Sunday, June 18, 2017
New footage of the Pike River Mine deep inside the operation, revealing no fire damage or signs of an inferno, provides a compelling reason to grant the families of Pike River victims their wish to re-enter the drift.
Families of the victims, and the whole country, has been told that there was simply no chance anything would have survived the ferocious inferno that followed the blasts.
The footage from borehole 44 released today reveals that, at the very least, parts of the mine survived the blast without noticeable fire damage.
This is creating even further doubt as to why the Government stubbornly refuses to consider a manned re-entry of the drift.
The families need answers, yet every further revelation throws up more questions that the Government refuses to answer.
It is simply not fair that the families of Pike River victims still wait for answers and are denied justice. National has promised an unmanned survey of the drift but they’re even dragging their heels on that.
I have committed to safe re-entry of Pike and we will clear the technicalities that the Government hides behind instead of providing the leadership the families so desperately need.
For over six years the families and all New Zealand has been searching for answers for the unnecessary deaths of 29 men – hard-working men who never returned home to their families from their job.
There has been no explanation, no-one made accountable.
This is unacceptable.
National needs to stop hiding behind legal excuses and front up with some answers.
Andrew Little is Leader of the Labour Party of New Zealand and Leader of the Opposition in Parliament.