New footage inside Pike River mine revealed
Newshub has obtained more video of the robot inside the Pike River mine.
It shows the two mine rescue workers in an airlocked portal in the entry zone, waiting to go in, and then clearly shows them inside the tunnel itself before they send off the robot.
There's also a photo of a letter pinned to the tunnel wall by mine rescue workers who have already been in.
"We have commenced our journey to you: this has been the first step to bring you home to your loved ones," it reads.
"We will not rest and we will never give up. We will return kia kaha."
Prime Minister Bill English has responded to the Pike River video released by Newshub on Sunday night.
"The idea that it was secret video is simply wrong," Mr English said today.
The families of the Pike River 29 say that the leaked footage was kept from them by police.
But Mr English said on Monday they have previously seen the video.
"Police have today confirmed that Pike families were invited to a briefing and shown excerpts."
This is a change of tune after police said on Sunday night that "The footage was previously not supplied for viewing as it was assessed as having no evidential value."
Newshub spoke to two royal commission members this morning, who said they could not recall seeing the footage.
The families maintain they've never seen video of the robot or men working in the mine tunnel.
Pike River Families secretary Carol Rose says she's been through all the minutes of all the meetings, and they were never shown that particular footage.
"I've certainly never seen the robots going up the drift," Sonya Rockhouse, who lost her son in the mine disaster, she said.
The position of the families is they would have had a different view of the mine's safety if they had seen the video.
It is possible they could have been shown other parts from over 30 hours of footage.
"The workers, they say they went no further than two metres into the mine," Mr English said on Monday.
Video shows the workers going inside, and the robot gets over 1500 metres down the tunnel in the video before it gets into trouble.
Mr English says the robot didn't catch on fire because there was no oxygen for a flame - but not because it was full of methane.
The Prime Minister also said "the drift was inert because it had been pumped full of nitrogen."
Going into the drift or tunnel is not that unusual - Mines Rescue today confirmed some have been 300 metres in, as evidenced by a picture of a message left by rescue workers.
Harold Gibbons is one of many that have been up there - and would go again - and further.
"I certainly would go in - there's a lot of members past or present that would go."
But Bill English says that will not be happening.
"The video does not change the assessment the mine is not safe to enter manned."