Almost half of the families of those killed in the Pike River mine disaster are disputing a statement that they have “accepted” a Government decision to wind down re-entry efforts.
The Pike River Family Reference Group (FRG), which represents the families of 27 of the 29 killed and two survivors of the mine disaster met Pike River Recovery Agency leaders and minister responsible Andrew Little on Monday. Afterwards, the group released a statement that said they “accept, with heartbreak” the Government’s decision not to expand the drift recovery project.
My view remains it would be cheaper and better to have given each family $1.5 million rather than spend $50 million going further into a mine, that also beyond doubt won’t produce any evidence resulting in a conviction.
Bernie Monk, from one of the four families not represented by the group, said Little had broken promises he made to the families.
Little wrote before the 2017 general election, when National was still in power, that “promises to Pike families must be kept”, the mine was stable and it was possible to get the men out.
True he did say that. Just one of many broken promises.
Monk said he was “gutted”.
“They used us as an election promise to get into Government. Andrew Little stood on the steps of Parliament and supported us and now this is yet another broken promise to the families and the country.”
Of course they used the families. It was a cynical promise designed to achieve nothing but play on sympathy.