Exclusive: Efforts to seal Pike River face roadblocks


Newshub can exclusively reveal efforts to seal the Pike Rive mine now face a legal and physical roadblock, with the victims' families taking legal control of a privately owned piece of road needed to access the site.

The farmer that owns the road has handed it over to Bernie Monk, who will serve trespass orders on the concrete trucks, needed to seal the mine, from Monday.

"We'll be blockading it. If anyone passes that without our permission, we'll be serving trespass notices on them," Mr Monk says.

Exclusive: Efforts to seal Pike River face roadblocks


The stretch of road goes across a private farm. It's been used to access the mine for years.

The families have figured it out, and got a surveyors report to prove there is no legal right-of-way for the mine's owner.

Exclusive: Efforts to seal Pike River face roadblocks


Farm owner Colin Van Der Geest has now given control to the families' representative, Mr Monk.

The letter reads: "We are happy for you to use the piece of land to stage your protest ... until such a time that you are satisfied that the best possible conclusion has been reached for the families...

"Our Family has a deep sympathy for what the families of the Pike River mine victims have been, and are, going through..."

"All we want is to be listened to - and not just brushed under the carpet," adds Mr Monk.

He also says the mine must not be sealed until attempts are made to get inside and check for remains of the 29 victims.

Mine owner Solid Energy's trucks will be met by a blockade from Monday morning, which will effectively make it impossible for the trucks to get in.

"We'll just see if they like to be treated the way that we've been treated," Mr Monk says.

Incoming Prime Minister Bill English was at the Beehive getting ready on Sunday. This is his first unforeseen problem. The families will come to Parliament to try and meet with him on Tuesday.

"If he doesn't want to see us, it's going to be a hard road to hoe for what needs to be done up there; we are going to make it tough," Mr Monk says.

The Pike River families see the "loophole" as a last chance to get into the mine.

Pike access road letter by NewshubNZ on Scribd