Pike families fear safety unit will be lost in new ministry

8:52 am on 17 March 2012

A spokesperson for families bereaved in the Pike River mine disaster says he is worried over the effect on the mining sector of a planned merger of four Government agencies.

The High Hazards Unit, which is part of the Labour Department, will be rolled into the newly-announced Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment from 1 July.

The unit was set up following the Pike River mine disaster in which 29 men died in a series of explosions in late 2010.

Family spokesperson Bernie Monk says he fears the mining sector will again be lost under the plans for the new, large ministry.

He says mining should have its own inspectorate, similar to those supervising fishing and aircraft.

But Mr Monk says the High Hazards Unit may be part of the new ministry for only a short time, as he expects drastic changes to emerge from the Pike River Royal Commission's findings later this year.