Justice will be served for any Pike River wrongdoing - Bernie Monk

The AM Show 29/08/2018

It has been eight years since 29 men lost their lives after an explosion inside the Pike River mine near Greymouth. Now a $22 million operation to enter the mine is planned.

Pike River families spokesman Bernie Monk, who lost his son Michael in the mine, has taken a trip into the mine's portal for the first time.

"I just wanted to go down to prove to the country that the families are on board here and this job is safe enough to do," he told The AM Show on Wednesday.

"There's still some risk assessments to be done with experts but they're confident by the end of the year they'll be going into the mine."

Mr Monk hopes the mission into the mine will uncover more evidence of what went wrong - and any wrongdoing.

"We're happy that one of our experts is going in with them to uncover what we think has been a huge cover-up right from day one," he says.

"The forensics have been on board and no doubt there will be a team in behind the lead group that'll be going into the mine."

It's been a long battle for Mr Monk. His fight to get the mine reopened has included standing in front of concrete trucks that were going to seal it.

And it's finally paying off. Police have reopened the investigation into the explosion and will complete the scene examination if they get access to the mine's access tunnel or drift. They're not ruling out new criminal charges being laid.

Mr Monk warns the families of the dead are still pursuing those who were in charge of the mine, including Peter Whittall, Doug White, Steve Ellis and the Department of Labour.

"I don't accept the Crown Law coming to the families and saying that it's not in the best interests of the country to bring anyone to be accountable and be brought to justice. We don't agree with that," he told host Duncan Garner.

"We're going to stand our ground and make things happen... they all must be held to account for what they've done here."

Watch the full interview with Bernie Monk above.

The AM Show with Duncan Garner, Amanda Gillies and Mark Richardson, weekdays 6-9am on RadioLIVE and streaming live to the rova app on Android and iPhone.