'The insinuation of a cover up is unfounded' - Solid Energy boss tells Pike River families

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Solid Energy directors have fired back at the Pike River families, denying allegations of a cover up and insisting cost isn't blocking a re-entry to the mine.

Representatives of the 29 Pike River Families presented a petition to Parliament this morning, calling for everything possible to be done to retrieve the remains of the dead men.

Bernie Monk tells MPs that families will fight on, Solid Energy Chair Andy Coup threatens to quit and widow Anna Osborne says the company is hiding things.
Source: 1 NEWS

They presented evidence from mines expert Tony Forster who insists it is safe to re-enter the drift.

But Solid Energy disagreed, and hit back during their appearance in front of MPs, which a number of the families stayed on to watch.

Chairman Andy Coupe told MPs they haven’t been asked by the Government, or any other officials, to re-enter the mine.

The Prime Minister has told the families the permanent sealing of the mine will stop while options are looked at.
Source: 1 NEWS

"The insinuation of a cover up is unfounded, misguided and frankly insulting," he said.

He was questioned extensively by opposition MPs about whether cost was the real reason for Solid Energy’s decision, and he denied that.

But one family member yelled and walked out after Mr Coupe insinuated to the committee that the family had always talked about re-entering the mine itself, and had only just started talking about it being the drift (or mine entry) recently.

After the committee, Mr Coupe told journalists he saw no point in meeting with the family members because they clearly have no respect for the company.

Families spokesman Bernie Monk says he’ll continue to fight for justice for as long as it takes.

The Government yesterday announced it’d ask Solid Energy to halt plans to re-seal the mine and instead will look at options involving drones or robots to enter it.

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