Labour Minister Simon Bridges says he will not “muck around” in taking a Pike River recovery plan to the Cabinet.
Families of the 29 men killed in a series of explosions in the West Coast coalmine in 2010 are battling to retrieve the victims’ remains.
A plan to re-enter the mine to try to recover the bodies is believed to be close to being finalised, possibly as early as tomorrow morning.
It is understood the proposal would involve sealing off the top of the ventilation shaft and pumping the mine full of nitrogen, forcing out any methane gas and allowing miners to walk up the tunnel.
The proposal must be approved as safe by the board of mine owner Solid Energy, the High Hazards Unit of the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment, and the Government.
Bridges said the Government would back a “technically credible” proposal.
Officials had been meeting every fortnight, he said.
“What I can tell you is that as soon as Solid Energy sign off a plan it will come to me, and I won’t muck around. I will be bringing that to Cabinet forthwith.”
If there is a credible, safe and practical plan for entry into the mine, that is an excellent thing. I am sure cost is not a factor – it is all about safety. The key thing is if both Solid energy and the HHU unit agree it is a safe and workable proposal. If they both agree, I would be surprised if it does not happen.