Rob Fyfe compares Pike River to Erebus, calls for public apology

Rob Fyfe says there should be a public apology for the Pike River Mine disaster.

In 2009, the former CEO of Air New Zealand apologised on behalf of the airline for the 1979 Erebus plane crash that killed 257 people.

Mr Fyfe, who is now the Government's adviser on Pike River, says the way families of the 29 men killed at Pike River is comparable to the Erebus situation.

"[There were] very, very similar mistakes we made in Erebus as there were in Pike River," he told Newshub.

Mr Fyfe believes a public apology is called for.

"In the sort of culture we believe we have in New Zealand, it is important we stand up and have the courage to acknowledge when we've done wrong and do say sorry."

On Thursday, Minister for Pike River Andrew Little announced the mine would be re-entered in February 2019 for a six month-long forensic search.

Police have also likened the mine-re-entry to the Erebus tragedy, saying Pike River's uncharted territory will make it a complex mission.