Pike River re-entry 'possibly' next year after election results, families say


KIRK HARGREAVES/STUFF

The portal of the Pike River mine.


Pike River families hope manned re-entry into the West Coast mine will happen next year after the election favoured parties that support their cause.

Last month, Labour, UnitedFuture, the Maori Party and Green Party leaders committed to re-entering the West Coast mine, where 29 men died in 2010. New Zealand First leader Winston Peters said in December that re-entering Pike River would be a "bottom line" in any coalition negotiations.

The bodies of 29 men are still in the Pike River mine and families have long been fighting to bring them out.



Maarten Holl

Sonya Rockhouse, whose son Benjamin was killed in the Pike River mine, speaking in September.


The election results mean Peters can form a coalition with National or Labour-Green. Either deal would mean re-entry could go ahead.

Sonya Rockhouse, who lost her son Ben in the mining disaster, said she hoped re-entry "could possibly happen next year".



SARAH-JANE O'CONNOR/STUFF

The Paparoa Ranges, inland West Coast, where families of the Pike River victims have asked the Government to consider a Great Walk.


"We are happy with the results last night. For us, it is a good thing. We are in a pretty good position."

Bernie Monk, who lost his son Michael in the mine, said manned re-entry into the mine was possible.

"International experts have said it can be done, the people of New Zealand have seen how solid the drift is, now after seven long years we will finally have someone who will be critical to government who is determined to do the right thing."

Anna Osborne, whose husband Milton was killed at Pike, said the election result meant that "we have got a majority of MPs in support of getting our boys and the truth out of Pike."

Some family members of the victims have long campaigned to bring the bodies out of the mine and stop mine owners Solid Energy from sealing Pike River. Late last year, families blocked a road to the mine for months in a protest to stop workers sealing entry to Pike River.

In February, Solid Energy agreed to a request from National Party leader Bill English to stop work on permanently sealing the mine. 

Solid Energy chief executive Tony King has said it was unsafe for people to enter the mine and said the company was researching ways to explore the mine with unmanned technology. But former chief inspector of mines Tony Forster has said the mine could be re-entered safely.

Stuff

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Gee here is a surprise - I put $100 on it will NEVER HAPPEN. 

Let these liars suck you in even more... believing a vote will change things still?

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