Ten years after the Pike River Mine tragedy in which 29 men lost their lives while at work, a commemorative service at Parliament has honoured them and their legacy of ensuring all New Zealand workplaces are safe.
Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern attended the event, along with representatives of the Pike River families. An additional event was also held by the families at the mine.
“The tragedy of Pike River Mine has been the loss of these men to their loved ones and generations to come – they were never able to lead full lives and their families have suffered because of that. They have also suffered because no-one was held accountable at the time,” Jacinda Ardern said.
“The Pike River families have repeatedly told us that justice for their lost loved ones also means ensuring all New Zealand workplaces are safe. That is the legacy they want for their men and one we are committed to fulfilling for them.
“We can never make up for the loss their families suffered, but we can honour them by keeping working to improve New Zealand’s woeful record on workplace safety. These men died at work and that just should not happen,” Jacinda Ardern said.
“Through the unswerving commitment of the Stand with Pike Group and supporters, a small Agency team and contracted experts, the Government’s commitment to a safe re-entry and recovery has been able to be carried out. Today the Pike River Recovery Agency is just 104 metres from the roof fall at the end of the drift access tunnel,” Andrew Little said.
“New Zealand Police have been on-site directing the forensic work underground, and working closely with the Agency and families to progress their ongoing investigation into the tragedy.
“These activities have been carried out with safety as the paramount principle, partnership with the families every step of the way, and operating with transparency. We want to honour those men who died with the work we’ve committed to completing – and by telling all New Zealanders that these sorts of tragedies should never happen again,” Andrew Little said.
“At 3.44pm today, New Zealand will remember them,” Jacinda Ardern said.
Media contact for Andrew Little: Georgina O’Reilly 027 338 5018