Labour would create Pike River re-entry minister

A Labour-led government will put a minister in charge of re-entering the Pike River mine, deputy leader Kelvin Davis has promised.

"We stand in solidarity with the families, alongside Winston Peters, we will establish a Minister for Pike River," he said on Newshub's The AM Show on Friday.

"That person will be responsible for making sure there is an entry."

Mr Peters, the NZ First leader whose party holds the balance of power, on Thursday met with Pike River families before going into preliminary coalition talks with National and Labour.

They said he had assured them whatever choice he made, re-entry would be a top priority.

The families have been campaigning for re-entry to recover bodies since explosions in the West Coast underground coal mine killed 29 men in November 2010.

Pike River widow Anna Osborne, also on The AM Show, repeated assertions the families made in June that up to six intact bodies were in the drift, the 2.3km tunnel that leads into the mine.

"I know it," she said.

"A couple of weeks ago we actually met with the interested families who wanted to see the images and we showed them for the very first time that there are fully intact bodies down the mine."

"They aren't all ash like some government ministers have led the public to believe."

She said the families were not yet ready to release the video footage to the media. It was obtained by lowering a camera down a bore.

The government's position is that manned re-entry is still too dangerous and robots will be sent in, before Christmas, to discover what is in the drift.


Deputy leader Kelvin Davis has promised Labour-led government will put a minister in charge of re-entering the Pike River mine. In plain language --- some one to be the fall guy if it all goes wrong ---

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