New Zealand Labour Party

National running out of excuses on Pike

The latest Pike River revelations further erode National's position of blocking a manned re-entry of the Pike River Mine drift, says Leader of the Opposition Andrew Little.


"National is running out of excuses to hide behind. It's time to re-enter the Pike River Mine drift to recover the men and evidence of why they died. The families deserve justice.

"When footage emerged of men working inside the mine's drift, National said they were only a couple of metres inside. Now, Hayden Ferguson, one of the men who was there, says he's been 300m inside and didn't feel unsafe.

"Nick Smith claims the drift is now too dangerous to enter, yet the man who has been furthest inside says it's safer now than when he went in.

"Does Nick Smith claim he knows better than the miners and mine safety experts? Why is National dragging the chain when the people with the knowledge on the ground say re-entering Pike is safe?

"Months after National promised an unmanned survey of the drift, it's yet to happen. National refuses to agree to a real re-entry to recover bodies and evidence no matter what the drone shows if it eventually is sent in.

"I have committed to safe re-entry of Pike and clearing any legality technicalities that impede it.

"There are 29 men in that mine. The trigger for the explosions has never been identified and no-one has been held to account for their deaths. Those men and their families deserve justice. I'm committed to making sure they get it," says Andrew Little.