Minister Responsible for Pike River Re-entry Andrew Little has welcomed the launch of Te Kāhui Whakamana Rua Tekau mā Iwa—Pike River Recovery Agency in Greymouth today.
“The mining disaster at Pike River was a national tragedy. After seven long years it’s critical that we make every effort to safely recover the Pike River mine drift, to better understand why 29 men never came home.
“The launch of a new agency, dedicated to achieving that, is a major step towards giving the Pike River families overdue closure and peace of mind.
“Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern made it a priority to establish this agency in the first 100 days of her government. We have achieved that in partnership with the families.
“We will continue to include the families at every stage, and will be transparent with all New Zealanders about the progress we make and the challenges we face.
“Basing the agency in Greymouth, on the West Coast, is appropriate and upholds our commitment to create government jobs in the regions.
“Now we look forward to seeing work on developing a robust plan for manned re-entry progressing at pace. I don’t expect this to be straightforward, but the agency will be running a thorough and transparent process, drawing on expert advice and the families.
“When I make the final decision on whether to re-enter the drift, it will be based on a technical assessment of the risks and advice that risks can be reasonably managed.
“I want to acknowledge the unwavering support for the families and the recovery effort by Rt Hon Winston Peters, Deputy Prime Minister, and the New Zealand First and Green parties,” Mr Little said.
Te Kāhui Whakamana Rua Tekau mā Iwa—Pike River Recovery Agency was established as a single purpose, stand-alone government department today, by Order in Council signed on 11 December 2017.
It is expected that the new agency will execute a plan for recovery of the Pike River mine drift by the end of March 2019.
The agency’s website is: www.pikeriverrecovery.govt.nz