Yesterday Solid Energy finally decided to surrender the Pike River mining permit, based on its decision to abandon a New Zealand government-funded re-entry project on the grounds the risky venture could cost more lives.
Families’ spokesman Bernie Monk discussed a possible response to this outcome on Wednesday.
According to Radio New Zealand, he said the families would ask the government to relinquish its operating licence and let the families “control a re-entry, using their own experts and advisers”
“Today he said he would consider whether to fight for re-entry but must ask himself if he wanted to put the families through another three or four years of agony,” RNZ reported yesterday.
“He wanted to get the men home but had to move on with his life, he said.”
Nicholas Davidson, the lawyer representing the families, reportedly said some could continue to fight for re-entry but others would turn their focus to moving on.
"I wouldn't put aside the possibility that some will want to continue the battle but it's a very sensitive time," he told the radio station.
He added that for those who accepted the decision, they had begun discussing how to secure the site and turn it into a memorial.
New Zealand Prime Minister John Key also reportedly said taxpayers could fund a civil case against the parties involved in the mine disaster on the condition its “advisors believe such a case could succeed”
However, his government dropped long-running charges against former Pike River Coal CEO Peter Whittall 11 months ago due to a perceived “low likelihood” of landing a conviction based on the available evidence.
New Zealand Labour parliamentarian and former mining union chief Andrew Little has previously told ICN that decision was politically motivated at the time.
Key was re-elected for a third term as prime minister in September.