5 Oct 2017

Peters re-iterates call for manned-entry to Pike River

From Checkpoint, 5:11 pm on 5 October 2017

Winston Peters has confirmed to Pike River families that he will continue supporting them in their appeal for re-entry to the mine.

The families' spokesperson Bernie Monk says the NZ First leader 'has been talking the truth to us'.

Ahead of talks with Bill English and Jacinda Arden, Winston Peters spoke with Bernie Monk, the spokesperson for the families of the 29 men who were killed in the Pike River Mine explosion in November 2010.

Mr Peters has said manned re-entry to the mine was a bottom-line in his coalition negotiations.

Mr Monk said Mr Peters was committed to his support of the families, no matter which way he went after the final votes from the election were in. 

"He's not making a commitment to anything party-wise to us, but we assured him as the families we would support him whatever direction he goes. 

"This man has been talking the truth to us and he hasn't veered off it, so we honestly believe that he's going to help us." 

Mr Monk's wife Kath, and other family members of the victims -  Anna Osborne and Sonya Rockhouse - were also on the phone call to Mr Peters, he said.

They are part of the core group who have been publicly representing the Pike River families over the last seven years. 

Mr Monk said that although the families might not get "much" from today's Supreme Court case against Pike River Mine boss Peter Whittall, the country would. 

"These corporates can't just walk over people and get people killed in the workplace and pay money and [tell them] to go away and get on with their lives. 

"That is what is happening with the Pike River families and we need this to stop happening in New Zealand." 

This is the fourth time the families' case has been brought to court, which Mr Monk said needed to be done for the country. 

"It cannot be swept under the carpet. A lot of people say, 'why don't you move on?' Well, we've moved forward, we haven't moved on. We need justice and accountability."