Monk protests right to stay

  • 22/12/2016
pike river family member places roses on gate newshub
A Pike River family member places flowers at the site of the mine (Newshub.)

Pike River protesters are determined to stay at the mine site, despite Solid Energy's claims they've been kicked off the disputed access road.

The protesters say they will continue their occupation but will no longer be allowed to lock the gate as they've done previously.  

On Wednesday, Solid Energy said the landowner who controls the access road to the mine - where 29 miners died in 2010 - had withdrawn permission for protesters to occupy the land. 

Families' spokesman Bernie Monk says they'll continue to fight.

"[Solid Energy] will never, ever seal the mine up as far as I'm concerned, so that's our big aim now," Mr Monk said. 

He said he is "over Solid Energy" and wishes to "get rid of them". 

"They're not doing any work up there anyway, so our protest is working."

Solid Energy says it wants the group to remove the gates which are blocking the company's access to the site.

"As a result of these agreements there is no basis for the protest group to prevent Solid Energy from accessing the Pike River mine along the piece of road at issue," Solid Energy said in a statement.

"The protestors have previously said they want to remain within the bounds of the law and we trust therefore that they will end their occupation of the site and remove the gates they erected to block Solid Energy's access." 

Mr Monk said the next step is a meeting with the Prime Minister. He is prepared to bring in "his people" from offshore if need be, to get "a fair hearing from now on".