Hard to reconcile National and Labour's differing responses to Pike River - Tova O'Brien

It is hard to reconcile Labour and National's different responses to the issue of re-entering Pike River Mine, Newshub political editor Tova O'Brien says.

Pike River Minister Andrew Little has been considering whether it's safe to send experts into the drift - the 2km long shaft which leads to the mine itself. The 2010 disaster claimed the lives of 29 miners and contractors.

Mr Little received a report from the Pike River Recovery Agency late last month following nine months of research in which three "safe and feasible" options to go into the drift were drafted.

He confirmed the Government has approved the "single entry" re-entry plan, which means re-entering the mine through the existing drift design.

Recovery operations had commenced shortly after the initial explosions, but after several setbacks the mine owner Solid Energy made the decision to not re-enter the mine in November 2014.

National did not support re-entering the mine as it was believed to be too dangerous. The mine is currently sealed.

O'Brien told The AM Show the public will find it difficult to reconcile the National Party's refusal to enter the mine with Labour's decision to investigate the drift.

"I think it's going to be very difficult for a lot of people to reconcile what we've been hearing over the last eight years with what we saw yesterday and what we're going to see going into early next year," she said.

O'Brien said it was likely National would focus on the fact it relied on evidence at the time that entering the mine was unsafe, as well as Solid Energy refusing to allow any re-entry efforts due to safety concerns.

"National will say after the Pike River tragedy as well they couldn't risk losing any more people going into that mine if there was any iota of a thought that it could be unsafe," she said.

"They relied on that information, didn't want to put anyone in harm's way.  But it's really hard when you see the decision made yesterday, trying to stack that up with what we heard over the last eight years."