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Prime Minister John Key announced today that Cabinet has agreed to establish a Royal Commission on the Pike River mine tragedy.
The inquiry will have broad terms of reference enabling it to examine and report on the causes of the explosions at the mine and subsequent loss of life, as well as all aspects of the safety regulatory regime and rescue operations that applied at the mine.
The Royal Commission will be chaired by Justice Graham Panckhurst, a sitting High Court judge. Two other Commissioners with relevant expertise in mining and safety regulation will also be appointed.
“The circumstances and cause of the deaths of 29 men in the Pike River mine need to be understood so that we can do everything we can to make sure this tragedy isn’t repeated,” Mr Key says.
“We owe it to the families of the men who perished in the Pike River mine to find out what happened, and I believe a Royal Commission is the best way to do that.
“Royal Commissions are reserved for matters of very significant public interest and the Pike River mine tragedy is one of those.
“The Royal Commission will start work as soon as is practical after the details of its make-up and its terms of reference are finalised.”
“Later this week the families, friends and colleagues of the 29 miners who died will mourn them at a National Remembrance Service in Greymouth,” Mr Key says.
“It is important that we take every step we can to get the answers that these people, and all New Zealanders, need about what happened at Pike River.”