Andrew Little admits failed Pike River promise

After years of promises and false hope, Pike River Recovery Minister Andrew Little admitted yesterday there is little chance of recovering the 29 men tragically lost, National’s Pike River Re-entry spokesperson Judith Collins says.

“Re-entering Pike River and recovering the bodies of those lost in the mine explosion was one of Labour’s promises on the campaign trail in 2017, trumpeted by both Andrew Little and Jacinda Ardern.

“But three years and $35 million later, progress has been very slow even allowing for delays caused by Covid-19, and yesterday the Minister admitted to the Finance and Expenditure Committee that there is little chance of human remains being found. 

“Labour, the Greens, and NZ First politicised the tragedy that unfolded at Pike River, building false hope among the families.

“Unsurprisingly, they have now admitted they aren’t going to be able to deliver on their promise.

“The Minister says evidence is being sought is now of a criminal investigation nature which was always the case. 

“The Royal Commission of Inquiry has already determined what happened and why.

“Government spending trying to over-rule what we already know could have been much better spent supporting the families of those who were lost.

“Holding out the hope of a criminal prosecution when the Minister knows that New Zealand Police prosecution decisions must, by law, be made without interference from Ministers, is wrong.

“Political interference would likely work against any such prosecution and the Minister should back off.”