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Pike River: Door likely stashed somewhere safe - Little

Jo Moir, Political Reporter

Minister for Pike River Re-entry Andrew Little says he would be surprised if a missing cabinet door from the explosion isn't stored away safely somewhere.

Minister of Justice Andrew Little. Photo: RNZ / Rebekah Parsons-King

Sonja Rockhouse, whose son Ben was among the 29 men killed in the mine blast, said a photograph of an electrical cabinet door that was blown 100m to the mine surface has just come to light but no one can say where the actual item has gone.

She said the situation was "bloody outrageous" and proof a proper investigation was needed.

The door from a fan control box was photographed nine days after the first explosion in 2010 but has not been seen since.

Mr Little said neither he nor the Pike River Recovery Agency knows where the door is.

"The agencies investigating the original explosion in 2010 were the police and what was then the Department of Labour, now WorkSafe. I'd be surprised if they don't have [it] stored somewhere [with] all of the exhibits and the material they collected at that time as part of their investigation,'' he said.

Mr Little said he became aware of the missing evidence last week and the agencies involved in the original investigation were notified but would still be in the process of hunting it down.

He said the evidence could be very informative.

"From the information we know this component may well be very relevant to establishing the cause or potential cause of the explosion. The Royal Commission did a pretty good job of their best guess of a cause, but anything we can get now that gives us a better understanding would of course be quite helpful.''

Mr Little said equipment being shipped from Australia was due any week now and re-entry would happen in a few weeks.

Several ministers were expected to attend the re-entry when it takes place and Mr Little would visit next week for one final check.

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