14 Dec 2010

Families want voice in mine disaster investigations

7:53 am on 14 December 2010

The families of the 29 men killed in the Pike River Coal mine have formed a group to ensure they have a voice in all aspects of the recovery and the inquiries into the disaster.

Twenty-nine workers died after a series of explosions beginning on 19 November rocked the Pike River Coal mine near Greymouth.

On Monday, the company announced it was in receivership and is rapidly heading for insolvency.

The families say news of the company's receivership was a huge blow, but they're buoyed by the receiver's commitment to lobby the Government for funding to continue the recovery effort.

The families have formed a committee, whose spokesperson Bernie Monk told Morning Report the last month had been a whirlwind, but it was now time for the families to unite and have a voice.

He said the main aim was to get their loved ones back "one way or another".

The group says the families also want the Government to meet their legal costs at the Royal Commission and the legal costs to enable families to resolve personal issues they might have arising from the tragedy.

The families also want an expert in workplace health and safety regulation to be included in the inquiry.

After weeks of what they say has been sitting and listening to everything being done, the families say they now want to have a voice in all aspects of the recovery and inquiries into the disaster.