The Minister Responsible for Pike River Re-entry, Andrew Little, has announced the establishment of a new stand-alone government department, the Pike River Recovery Agency, Te Kahui Whakamana Rua Tekau ma Iwa.
The agency will work in partnership with the Pike River families to plan for decisions on the manned re-entry of the drift of the Pike River Mine.
“The new agency will make sure that the families and their experts are listened to, respected, and included. It is crucial to make every effort to recover the drift, so it can be comprehensively investigated," Mr Little says.
“The new agency will be a government department, headed by a chief executive, who will report to me.
“The purpose of the agency is to gather evidence to better understand what happened in 2010, with an eye to preventing future mining tragedies and to give the Pike River families and victims’ overdue closure and peace of mind."
Mr Little says he has planned on the basis that the new agency will - depending on his decision - execute a plan for complete recovery of the drift by the end of March 2019. Exact timing will depend on technical assessments.