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'We have an obligation to the families' - new cross-party Pike River Mine agency would bring out bodies by end of 2018

All major political parties apart from National and ACT have agreed to a commitment which would set up a government agency to take over Pike River Mine and reclaim the miners' bodies.

The Labour MP announced a cross-party political agreement to take ownership of Pike River and work to recover the remains. Source: 1 NEWS

The 'Stand With Pike Political Commitment' would move responsibility from Solid Energy to a new agency modelled on the now-defunct Canterbury Earthquake Recovery Authority, as Solid Energy will soon be disestablished as a state-owned enterprise due to financial difficulties.

All political parties bar National have vowed to re-enter the mine as soon as possible. Source: 1 NEWS

This includes the establishment of a new ministerial position, and the promise to create the agency within the first 100 days of government, with recovery completed by the end of 2018.

The families are holding two meetings tomorrow to view new images they say show intact bodies. Source: 1 NEWS

Today Labour Leader Jacinda Ardern thanked the families of the miners and their determination to "do the right thing".

"I cannot imagine having my family member in that mine and not coming home," Ms Ardern said.

"Returning your men and your boys is as much about a personal perspective as it is about anything else."

No projections for a monetary cost have yet been created and it was yet to be decided which budget the agency would come from.

Ms Ardern said that "money shouldn't be an issue".

"There's no reason why the work can't start immediately," she said.

Former leader Andrew Little then spoke, saying "we now have an obligation to the families ... to clean it up".

He said Solid Energy has "clearly showed no care or compassion for them at all".

"It is an act of compassion that is long overdue".

United Future leader Peter Dunne paid respects to the family also, then said his views had changed about a re-entry after initially "thinking that nothing more could be done".

"My view has changed over time due to the protracted nature of this and due to what I felt were unsatisfactory responses to new information," Mr Dunne said.

Anna Osborne, the wife of Milton Osborne who died in the mine, said in a statement that she considered the agreement "a huge victory for justice and an enormous step towards getting our boys out, getting the truth, and coming to terms with what happened at Pike River".

"We are so incredibly thankful to all of the parties that have backed us on this today and over the last year, their commitment shows that we can get justice, and let all New Zealanders know that our leaders will do the right thing".

The video was captured on a camera lowered into the mine four days after the first explosion in 2010. Source: Newshub

Pike River families held two meetings last week to view new images they believe showed the intact bodies of several of their loved ones inside the mine.

The meetings coincided with the release of new video showing a drift runner leaving the mine just two minutes before the fatal explosion, with men on-board who had just finished their shift.

Another new clip showed firefighters and miners looking into the mine after the explosion.

The National Government, who weren't party to today's agreement, have steadfastly refused re-entry into the mine, saying any such move was too dangerous. 

Acting Conservation Minister Nick Smith, speaking to media at parliament after the announcement, said the government has already committed to un-manned re-entry into the drift by Christmas, and he says changing that plan would significantly delay the progress.

"Nothing has changed in the very extensive 800 page report that says that manned entry into the drift is unsafe," Mr Smith said.

"No amount of political statements of the pre-election period change the fundamental fact - and that is that getting men into the drift has been deemed by thorough examination to be unsafe."

Anna Osborne reveals at least four bodies can be seen in new footage Pike River Mine victims’ families have obtained. Source: 1 NEWS

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