Pushy journalists in Greymouth to cover the Pike River Mine disaster have tried posing as Air New Zealand victim support workers just to get a foot in the door of the homes of distressed families.

There are also reports of some news agencies opening their cheque books to get people to talk, with media from all over the world fighting for stories and video footage.

Inspector Brigitte Nimmo, police welfare co-ordinator, told the Greymouth Star the antics of some media groups were "despicable".

"It is very disturbing that the media can behave in this manner and I have seen first-hand the effect it is having on the families."

There was a lot of anger towards the media from many of the distraught family members, she said.

"When they are approached by media, they tell them 'no' However journalists keep insisting. What they have been doing is selfish and disrespectful, to say the least.

"We have had multiple complaints from the families who are well enough to complain - it is totally unacceptable."

Mrs Nimmo said the trauma counsellors were in Greymouth to offer a service and help those who were not coping with the strain.

"This has been abused by some media agencies and is in very poor taste."

While she was not accusing all visiting media of low-down tactics, it did have a flow-on effect for the rest of the journalists.

"It is so bad and very frustrating - even when people say 'no comment', they keep persisting and break them even more.

"It's like they just don't care."

The Star is aware of one incident in which a journalist left a microphone attached to someone they had already interviewed, to gather more sensitive information.

Since Friday's explosion the number of national and international media flocking to Greymouth, working in shifts, has swelled to over 100.

As the days wear on, journalists who want to break stories or get exclusives with family members who have loved ones trapped underground are resorting to extreme measures to be first with the story.

Mrs Nimmo said it to had to stop.

School gates around Greymouth have been closed tight and many have teachers on guard constantly to ensure the pupils are not hounded by reporters.

Some schools report having had journalists loitering around the school gates attempting to interview children.

At the media conference this morning, an Australian reporter asked police Superintendent Gary Knowles why a "country station cop" was in charge of the operation, because in Australia it would be the mine manager and union.

This was met with jeers and guffaws from New Zealand media, with one commenting loudly: "Jeez, go back to Australia."

- GREYMOUTH STAR