Jacinda Ardern visits Pike River, reiterates recovery pledge

Jacinda Ardern has reiterated her commitment to creating a special government agency charged with recovering bodies from Pike River mine.

The Labour leader visited the Pike 29 Memorial on Logburn Rd in Atarau on the West Coast, which leads up to the mine's defunct processing facility and portal.

Jacinda Ardern visits Pike River, reiterates recovery pledge
Photo credit: Newshub.

It's her first time visiting the site.

"We've always had specialist advice that says it is possible to do a safe, manned re-entry and that's what we've committed to," Ms Ardern said.

Family members of some of the victims joined Ms Ardern, including Anna Osborne, who lost her husband Milt in the 2010 disaster. She's been a fierce advocate for re-entering the mine's drift to recover bodies.

Jacinda Ardern visits Pike River, reiterates recovery pledge
Photo credit: Newshub.

"[In the last seven years] we've had lies, we've had broken promises, and we're quite frankly sick of it," she said.

If elected as Prime Minister, Ms Ardern says she will create a specialist government agency dedicated to finding a way to safely re-enter the mine in stages to recover bodies and gather evidence.

She also visited the Pike families' protest site further up the road towards the mine, where Solid Energy has installed gates across the road and a security camera.

Jacinda Ardern visits Pike River, reiterates recovery pledge
Photo credit: Newshub.

The protest is haunting, and includes an installation of 29 life-sized men in overalls along the side of the road.

Signs have been erected, with one reading, "I need my Dad home for closure. Please don’t seal it", and another, "Election year Bill - our men can't speak but our nation can. Vote wisely NZ".

Newshub.

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