The Pike River families say for the first time in seven years, they have hope.
Representatives including Bernie Monk, Sonya Rockhouse and Anna Osborne met with NZ First leader Winston Peters on Thursday morning, where he reaffirmed his promise of a manned re-entry and recovery of the bodies.
"It went very well. We're all on the same page," said Mr Monk, whose son Michael was one of the 29 killed in the 2010 disaster
"We had an opportunity to thank him for all the support he has given us right from the day he was up at the gates. He reassured us the same thing... he's going to make things happen.
"We've got full faith in whatever decision he makes that Pike River's going to be a top priority."
- Winston Peters meets Pike River families
- The comprehensive list of Winston Peters' bottom lines
- Live updates: National, NZ First negotiating teams revealed
The families are in Wellington for a judicial review of the decision to drop charges against former Pike River Mine boss Peter Whittall, after mine owner Solid Energy paid $3.4 million to the families and survivors.
The families say it was blood money, but a previous appeal was rejected on the basis the payment was voluntary, and was not the primary reason the charges were dropped.
"Justice cannot be bought, or should not be bought in New Zealand - but in our case, it has been," said Ms Osborne, who lost her husband Milton.
"We've lost three appeals, but today we actually feel like... we're going to come out with the positive reply. I think we've got this."
The meeting with Mr Peters comes the same day the NZ First leader is set to start negotiations with both National and Labour about forming the next Government. Though the timing is a coincidence, Ms Rockhouse - who lost her son Ben at Pike River - called it a "good omen".
"We've actually got hope for the first time in seven years. I truly believe that we're going to get something done. We're going to get into that drift."
Labour, Greens reaffirm support
The likelihood of that happening is greater if Mr Peters sides with Labour and the Greens, the families believe, because both parties have already promised re-entry. They met with Labour leader Jacinda Ardern on Wednesday, but in seven years, say they've never sat down with anyone from National.
"Every time we've been up here, they've always found a way not to meet us," said Mr Monk.
"They know we're in town. If they want to meet us, we're always open to meeting them."
Solid Energy has proposed sending another robot into the mine - a fifth - but no people.
"I've got no faith in Solid Energy doing this job," said Mr Monk.
"We have the overseas experts, and quite a number of them, who have gone through everything," said Ms Osborne.
"We've got five or six experts overseas who say this can be done, and can be done safely. But National and Bill English refused to listen to our experts and have gone with the one expert who said it was too unsafe."
She said if the experts they consulted told them it was too dangerous, they would have "reluctantly" walked away.
"But none of them did."
Not if, but when
Newshub political editor Patrick Gower told The AM Show the political reality was that a manned entry is now inevitable.
"The National Government tried to put concrete down that mine... we will now see the character of Bill English and all the other people in the Beehive who tried to stop [going back into the mine]. They've probably, already in their minds, agreed to letting men go back into the Pike River drift.
"They will not go into Opposition over this... They will literally go back on everything they've said in order to get Winston into power. They'll go back into Pike River... It's hugely embarrassing."