The man in charge of the Pike River Mine re-entry has turned down Winston Peters' request to be among the first people to go back into the drift.
But the Deputy Prime Minister is not leaving it there, telling the Herald he was still in discussions about his offer.
Peters has repeatedly said he would like to be part of any team that went into the mine first once it was made safe for re-entry.
He wrote to Pike River Recovery Agency chief executive Dave Gawn last month with a formal request to accompany the team going into the mine. That was due to occur tomorrow but has been delayed because of atmosphere issues inside the mine.
But in a response dated April 26, Gawn said: "I acknowledge the strength and consistency of your support for re-entry to occur and your desire to be a member of the initial re-entry team."
He went on to explain that there were health and safety and legal issues, not to mention multiple hazards to be managed.
"Each of the team needs to have wide, deep and current experience in relevant aspects of underground coal mining. All of them need to have been closely involved in planning and preparation for the activity over recent months, and to be closely familiar with the specific conditions they will encounter.
"I must therefore decline your request."
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Peters said today he was not finished. "I don't propose to leave it at that.
"I'm in discussions, you might say."
Peters first made the pledge to some Pike River families to go into the mine in 2016 to show he believed a manned re-entry was possible when it was deemed to be too dangerous.
He has often cited his previous experience working as a miner on the Snowy Mountain hydro-electric scheme in Australia in the 1960s.
Three mining experts were to go in to the West Coast mine today in the first step to recovering the drift.
Blasts at the mine in 2010 killed 29 men. Their bodies remain inside but many of their families want their loved ones back.