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Saturday, April 10, 2021

Pike River victim’s father ‘can’t accept’ government won’t go further in mine

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The father of one of the Pike River victims is considering legal action against the government for not going further into the mine.

Families at the entrance to the mine for the start of the school year in May 2019.
Photo: Provided / Pike River Recovery Agency

The Family Reference Group, which represents most of the 29 victims, said this morning it accepts the government’s advice that there will be no more money to expand the project to recover the remains of their families. relatives.

Bernie Monk is not in the Family Reference Group and said he was frustrated and upset that he and others had no say.

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“We’re not just going to lie down and turn around as they want, like the FRG did and we went back and we just made the decisions without discussing it in a family situation, and we constantly asked them to do it and yet they banned us from all meetings, ”he said.

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Monk said he had two options left: either take legal action against the government for not going further into the mine, or the families would have to fund the salvage operation themselves.

Although he was not yet clear which option to choose, one thing was certain: he felt that the men inside were abandoned.

Monk said families shouldn’t be too quick to trust police without recovery officers having a detailed examination of the mine ventilator area.

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He said taking a look at the fan would uncover crucial evidence.

“We have the same police doing the investigation that did it the first time and they didn’t do it right then, so what’s going to get them to do it right this time? -Here when they don’t enter the nine-meter zone. “

Police said their investigation into Pike River was ongoing.

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Pike River back-to-school minister Andrew Little said what he told families last night when they met was nothing new.

In a statement to RNZ, he said the government had kept its promise to safely recover the Pike River mine drift.

He said the mandate of the salvage agency, which was to recover the drift, had not changed and the drift was under forensic examination.

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Monk thought Little had a lot to answer, considering he had talked about mine safety before when he was at the Engineering, Printing and Manufacturing union.

“He made a mistake [at the time] and admitted it. Then he comes up and he walks to Blackball with us every year with the unions, putting his fist in the air and saying solidarity, ‘we’re going to help you guys, we’re going to do anything for you to get your men out’, he said.

“And here we are, now he’s the mine recovery minister and he’s pulling the pin. I can’t take it.”


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