Photo Proves Safe Re-Entry Possible Into Pike River Tunnel

The Minister for the Environment Nick Smith maintains it is not safe for workers to be more than a few metres inside the Pike River mine entry tunnel, but this has already occurred.

“A photograph supplied to New Zealand First and presented to Parliament today proves workers have safely reached 400 metres up the tunnel,” says New Zealand First Leader and Northland MP Rt Hon Winston Peters.


“How then can the Minister, who is responsible for Pike River for the government, continue to say it is too risky for a well-equipped team to enter the tunnel and travel to the end, as the families of the victims wish?


“The Minister argues that workers have only gone into the tunnel a few metres. He admits they went as far as 170m when a seal was put in place, after nitrogen had been pumped in to make the atmosphere inert.


“The Minister ignores the advice of New Zealand Mines Rescue, Queensland Mines Rescue and New Zealand’s former Chief Inspector for Mines and an international expert on mine safety and mine recovery, Tony Forster, who conclude that residual risks can be controlled for a manned re-entry,” says Mr Peters.