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Pike River families to announce new plan

NZ Newswire logoNZ Newswire 12/12/2016

New Prime Minister Bill English says he's happy to meet the families of the Pike River dead, but only after he's had more time to consider the situation.

Family members are due at parliament on Tuesday to announce a new plan to re-enter the West Coast coal mine.

The plan has been developed by UN Group of Experts on Coal Mine Methane vice-chair David Creedy and former British principal mines inspector Bob Stevenson.

The families had hoped to present the plan to Mr English.

"I simply won't have the time [on Tuesday] to be honest," Mr English said.

"They have, as I understand it, sought an appointment quite recently. I'm happy to consider a meeting at some stage later, but I'd need to have a very good look at the situation."

Opposition leader Andrew Little said Mr English's decision was disappointing.

"These families have been waiting year after year; they had been promised that everything possible would be done to get those men out," he said.

"One thing the prime minister could do is say `we will get independent advice' and be bound by that."

On Monday, dozens of people assembled at the access road to the mine to stop work on sealing its entrance.

That came after the farmer who owns the land the road runs through gave the families control of it.

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