New video from deep in Pike River Mine appears to show no fire damage
New footage from deep inside the Pike River Mine raises "serious questions" about the Government's refusal to re-enter the mine drift, the mother of a deceased miner says.
The newly-released 2011 footage, obtained by Newshub, is of a deep section of the mine known as borehole 44 and shows no sign of underground fire.
Prime Minister Bill English said he was advised the footage had been assessed before as part of the decision-making around the mine.
"The assessment that matters is not so much about whether the explosion affected all parts of the mine – there can be ongoing discussion about that - it's whether it's safe to go in there after the explosion," he told The AM Show.
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Judgments had to be made based on the best evidence at the time, and there had been no authoritative description of everything that happened in the explosion.
He was looking for more information from an unmanned entry into the mine, which was expected to happen shortly.
Labour leader Andrew Little said the footage was a "compelling reason" to grant the Pike River families' wishes to re-enter the drift, a 2.3-kilometre tunnel leading into the mine.
Sonya Rockhouse, who lost son Ben in the mine, said the footage shows there was an urgent need for answers.
"New Zealand has been told there's nothing but ashes and dust down there, they've been told that the drift can't be made safe to enter and investigate.
"That's just not true, my boy is down there and if pallets and paper are intact then so is his body," she said.
If it had been released earlier the families would have been into the drift by now "and would have answers and some accountability".
"Bill English has tried to keep us quiet with the promise of getting cameras into the drift, but in the five months since that promise has been made all that has happened is a couple of meetings and a vague suggestion it might happen by November.
"It feels like they're more interested in making this go away until after the election than in getting answers," Rockhouse said.
Experts said the drift could be made safe for manned entry, which was needed to recover evidence and any remains, she said.
"I want to know why the Government won't listen to them and just do this.
"Bill English needs to stop trying to hide from this.
"He needs to do the right thing. He needs to let our experts work with mines rescue to enter the drift and find out what happened down there.
"We need answers. We deserve answers," Rockhouse said.
Little said National had promised an unmanned survey of the drift "but they're even dragging their heels on that".