Pike boss tells MPs: I'll quit if they re-enter that mine
The chairman of Pike River Mine owner Solid Energy, Andy Coupe, has told MPs he would resign if a re-entry of the defunct mine proceeds.
"I would resign as a director [if a re-entry went ahead]. I would resign if that happened on my watch," he told a select committee on Thursday.
He says even if a re-entry was ordered by the Government, he would still "seriously consider" resigning.
Mr Coupe is in Wellington for state-owned Solid Energy’s annual review at Parliament.
He has been bombarded with questions from Opposition MPs over his vehement opposition to re-entering Pike River, despite dozens of experts saying it can be done safely.
He rejected suggestions the Government is controlling Solid Energy’s stance on the matter.
"There is no cover-up or conspiracy regarding this company's opposition to re-entering the defunct mine," he says.
"The insinuations of a cover-up are wrong, and quite frankly, I'm offended.
"The directors or board have not been told either on paper or verbally by the Government to block re-entry plans.
"The directors or board have not been told either on paper or verbally by the Government to block re-entry plans."
Numerous allegations of a cover-up have been made by politicians and some family members of the victims, based on Solid Energy's U-turn on a re-entry when the evidence suggested it could be done safely.
He said Solid Energy's decision not to re-enter the mine is based on safety, and safety alone.
"It needs to be sufficiently safe. The residual risks are significant and not significantly able to be controlled.
He also revealed that cost is a factor in the decision to avoid re-entering the mine.
"Reducing safety to a significant degree does come down to cost. You need to build another egress, which you're looking at $100 million."