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A Decade On, It Is Time For Closure On Pike River

The tenth anniversary of the Pike River mining tragedy is the right time to seal the mine, honour the fallen and their families, and construct a memorial to commemorate the dead, says the New Zealand Taxpayers' Union.

Union spokesperson Louis Houlbrooke said: “It has been a decade and the ill-fated ‘recovery’ project has cost over $50 million in taxpayer money. No human remains have been recovered, no forensic information retrieved. Enough is enough. Sealing the mine will provide closure to the families, many of whom do not support the ‘re-entry’, and a memorial will be a place for all New Zealanders to pay their respects.”

“This has been a highly political process. The then-National Government was opposed to re-entry on scientific and engineering grounds. Labour spokesperson, now Minister, Andrew Little loudly disagreed. He made it an election pledge, and after their win he became Minister for Pike River Re-entry and formed the Pike River Recovery Agency. The Agency has around 40 staff.”

“In March, the Minister and the Agency predicted finishing the re-entry by July or August. It is now November and little progress has been made. It is time to cut our losses after the budget has doubled with no results. ”

Media have captured the comments of Marion Curtin who has 'spoken out reluctantly and occasionally'. The Christchurch retiree, whose son Richard Holling died at Pike River, is appalled re-entry went ahead. To me it was politically motivated before the previous election. I objected to my son’s death being used as a political ploy. I have never been shown or told anything that justified re-entry.

“Andrew Little can at least say Labour tried to re-enter the mine. At this rate, a substantial recovery is not going to happen, and taxpayers should stop paying for Andrew Little's political pride,” says Mr Houlbrooke.

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