TODAY |

Pike River families prepare to protest if High Court injunction to prevent mine being sealed isn't successful

Pike River families’ spokesperson Bernie Monk says there may be a protest at the Pike River site if a High Court injunction filed today is not successful.

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Monk, the spokesman for the deceased miners’ families say the “families have right to do this”. Source: 1 NEWS

Families of men killed in the 2010 explosion travelled to Wellington to file an application for a judicial review into the decision to seal the mine before a police investigation underground is complete.

In March, the Government announced it wouldn’t fund an extension to the Pike River recovery mission, which got as far as the mine drift or access tunnel. 

The Pike River Recovery Agency wants to begin sealing the mine this month so the site can be handed to the Department of Conservation.

Monk says 22 of the 29 Pike River families support the injunction, and that being able to access the mine’s main fan, believed to be the cause of the explosion, is critical in proving what happened on 19 November 2010.

“We're challenging, we'll keep challenging, we've got a right to do this, we've got 22 families on board and we got their names overnight when they made the decision to close the mine.”

Bernie Monk wouldn’t rule out protest action at the site if work to seal the mine begins.

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The court filing calls for the courts to prevent the mine from being sealed before the police underground investigation is complete. Source: 1 NEWS

“Oh we’ve got plans, if this Government thinks we’re going to walk away from this it’s not going to happen. 

I’ve already had the police say what are you going to do, I said watch this space.”

Carol Rose, whose son Stuart was killed in the mine says the families want proof of the cause of the explosion.

“Remember this is not about body recovery, we're not trying to recover the remains of our men, we're long gone from there. This is purely about getting justice.”

Her husband Stephen says the families feel bullied by the government.

“We feel somewhat bullied and kicked around, the Labour Party were happy to use us prior to the election to get votes and 'we're going to do this', what have they actually done? Recovered the drift, great, well done, but why stop so short? What’s in there that’s so horrible they can't bring themselves to discover?”

Kalani Nieper, 12, who was just 18 months old when his dad Kane died at Pike River says he feels like the families wishes have been ignored by the Government.

“I want answers, I want to know what happened. I don't want them to just seal it up and it's going to be forgotten.

What’s happening with all of this, is it’s like a weight on most of the people going through this. We need the community to help take that weight off.”

His mum Cloe is part of a video campaign, launched this afternoon, to rally public support.

“I've always wanted to know what went wrong, it's always been my thing, if they bring Kane out – amazing. If they bring someone out - amazing, but my number one priority is what went wrong.”

Andrew Little, the minister responsible for Pike River said “in view of their intention to take legal action it would be inappropriate to comment.”