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Pike River families meet with PM

NZ Newswire logoNZ Newswire 14/02/2017

The man once charged with the safety of New Zealand's mines has arrived in Wellington to support the families of the Pike River Mine disaster victims in their meeting with Prime Minister Bill English.

Tony Forster, a former Worksafe chief mines inspector, believes the families are right in their quest to re-enter the mine drift with the hope of finding answers about what caused the 2010 disaster, and possibly retrieving the bodies of some of the men.

"I think people deserve an explanation. There's been a lot of hurt, there's a lot of trouble going on; I'd like to help," Mr Forster told NewsHub on Wednesday morning.

Bernie Monk, Anna Osborne, Sonya Rockhouse and Dean Dunbar are due to meet with Mr English on Wednesday afternoon to put forward their case.

They have a report by mining engineers Robert Stevenson and David Creedy outlining a case for safe re-entry to the mine drift, a stone tunnel leading to the mine.

But the mine's owner, state-owned Solid Energy, believes methane levels are still too high to allow for safe re-entry and want to seal the site.

Family members have been protesting at the West Coast site for months trying to prevent sealing works.

Mr English has previously said that regardless of ownership, re-entry is a matter of safety.

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