The Prime Minister has met with the Pike River Mine families today, saying he acknowledges their loss and suffering.
“The families want to recover their loved ones and ensure such a disaster never happens again and I accept they want to take every possible step to achieve this,” Mr English says.
“No matter how we try and achieve this, we must adhere to the improved workplace health and safety laws we passed in the aftermath of the Pike River Mine tragedy.
“This decision is not about politics, it is about safety. We lost 29 lives in that mine and I will not risk losing any more.
“On that, there is common ground. The families’ spokespeople, their experts and Solid Energy all agree that the mine would have to be made safe before an entry could occur.
“The families’ proposal for entry, made public in December, does not include a detailed plan, and therefore does not make the case for a safe re-entry.
“Any decision to re-enter would also have to be made in accordance with our current workplace safety law, so the new directors would still have to take responsibility without indemnity for all aspects of safely entering the mine. It’s highly unlikely a new set of directors would decide it could be done safely. Read more »