The decision to quit efforts to retrieve the remains of 29 Pike River mine workers has been met with anger by some of the families of the men. But other relatives say they were always resigned to the fact that the remains would never be returned, following a series of explosions in the West Coast coal mine since November.
"You get talked into having all this hope, and you're just shattered," Jo Palmer, whose brother Brendon is among the dead, told the Weekend Herald. "It's like being told all over again that [the men are dead], like the day of the second explosion. It's just another huge shock to everyone."
Miss Palmer said the families had been led to believe that progress was being made in the recovery effort, and she believed in Mr Key when he initially said everything possible would be done. "The fact is there is still so much that can be done. They say it's not about the money ... but if things were looking so good up there, why else would they just quit now? It just seems they don't care at all what the families think."
Bernie Monk, who lost his son Michael and is a spokesman for the families, is not prepared to give up hope of the remains being returned. "[When] those guys that are up there in the rescue teams come to me, and look me in the eye, and say 'Listen Bernie, we have gone through all avenues, we can't do any more', then I will accept it."
Carol Rose, whose son Stuart Mudge is among the dead, said her family never really held out any hope of getting his remains out of the mine.
"We accepted that almost from the beginning," Mrs Rose said.
"I'm of the opinion that he's got a very nice burial place. He's in a beautiful mountain. We are quite okay for him to stay there."
Mr Monk said the receivers had access to assets worth a lot of money and were obliged to pay for continuing recovery efforts.
"You can't tell me they haven't got monies."
Lawyers representing the families were working on matters relating to the recovery, but Mr Monk would not disclose what they were.