Most Pike River video shows an 'empty nothing' - Paula Bennett

The rift between the Government and the Pike River families over footage shot inside the mine appears to be deepening.

Deputy Prime Minister Paula Bennett told The AM Show on Friday the family "won't be remembering" what the police have shown them already because 2011 "was so long ago".

"Police have documented evidence that they did show the families the key parts of this footage back in 2011," she told host Duncan Garner.

"To say police are lying or not doing their thing is actually offensive to the police, and not fair."

But the families say the Government's stance is "insulting".

"The suggestion that all of the families and their [lawyers] would have forgotten images of a robot smoking in the drift is incredibly insulting," said Anna Osborne, whose husband died in the tragedy.

"We have never seen this footage before it was leaked to us and we have been asking for it and other footage for a long time."

Newshub revealed the smoking robot footage, shot in March 2011, last week.

"It doesn't feel like the Government wants us to get justice," said Carol Rose, whose son Stuart Mudge died in the mine.

"They want to manage us like we're some kind of political problem. We want all the footage that the Government has got. Our men are in there, and it's our right as families to see what the Government has seen."

Ms Bennett said most of the video is "irrelevant" and "just an empty nothing". She also said the reason the families haven't seen most of it is because they only asked for it in March.

"It's not all just in one format. It's in multiple formats, it's literally thousands of still images. It's not from one robot… It's not as easy as just releasing all of it all at once."

Some footage will be made public at 10am on Friday.

"It's almost as if they had to ask in order to receive it," said Labour deputy leader Jacinda Ardern, also appearing on The AM Show.

"The footage has always existed, the images, thousands of them, have always existed… You can understand why they have no faith."

Ms Bennett says none of the footage will lead to any change in the Government's view it's too dangerous to enter the mine to retrieve the bodies.

"I don't think it's a political decision and I think my opinion in this is irrelevant. I'm not an expert. I don't know. We rely on experts to give us that information.

"I tell you what - if they made that decision and sent people down and they then died, who would be under the gun? I'm not going to make that [call]."

The families' request is for 265GB of material.


Contact Newshub with your story tips: