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Eight long years later, working people killed in Pike River will not be forgotten

The Council of Trade Unions President Richard Wagstaff today welcomed the long-awaited release of the Pike River re-entry plan as a victory for the Pike River community and families of the men killed working in the mine. “For eight years, while politicians excused, delayed and tried to walk away, these families have never given up the fight for answers, and for closure,” he said.

“Justice for the Pike 29 always required a political will that was lacking under the last Government. This tragedy had too many unanswered questions, about why 29 men went to work one day and never came home. Former CTU President Helen Kelly was never satisfied with the excuses and delays given to the Pike River community. With Helen’s support these families chose to become advocates and activists for working people’s rights, and political campaigners, to counter powerful interests that wanted to turn a blind eye.”

“It should never have taken eight years of struggle. Now, with the current Government holding to their promise to plan a re-entry, the families’ persistence is finally paying off.”

“It says volumes about the priorities of this Government to put people first. What the last Government could not achieve in seven years, this coalition has begun in just over one. Working people’s lives matter, and re-entering Pike River mine was the only honourable thing to do. Today, the end of this long, hard road is finally in sight.”