Every time fresh footage of the doomed Pike River Mine is aired the country's heart bleeds for the families of the 29 miners who perished there in November 2010.

They want their loved ones brought home to be given a burial, it's closure for them.

But the volatility of that mine, and what occurred at the time, understandably tends to be forgotten. The first methane gas explosion occurred on November the 19th, there was a second explosion five days later, another one two days after that and the final one two days later.

Families were told there would have been no survivors after the second explosion and with good reason. Every miner had a self rescue device containing 30 minutes of air and there were fresh air bases within the mine for them to escape an emergency. There was no evidence of them trying to reach the bases and when a borehole was drilled into the mine, where the miners were thought to have been, the methane level was put at 95 percent.


The latest footage to emerge from deep within the mine shows a wooden crate and hoses and a pair of spectacles which obviously shows that that part of the mine wasn't engulfed in flames. That's all it shows.

No one actually knows what went on in that mine and what sort of conflagration took place.

One thing was clear though, it was unsafe then and the debate has raged ever since whether it's still unsafe. For anyone to go in under new health and safety laws that virtually require a risk analysis for sharpening a pencil, someone has to take responsibility.

No Government in its right mind would deliberately prevent the bodies from being recovered if they thought there wasn't a risk.

But words in politics are cheap and they tend to give the families false hope. Labour's Andrew Little says the new footage provides a compelling reason for the mine to be re-entered. Little's committed to a safe re-entry, with the operative word being safe which would in reality, put a Government led by him in the same place as the current Beehive incumbents.

Winston Peters has made re-entry into the mine a bottom line to post election coalition negotiations but he knows full well the law, as it stands won't allow for that. It was enacted because of Pike River.

Unmanned re-entry into the mine is planned at the moment. The families want their advisors involved in the process and want to see the footage sent back by the drones and robots.

That seems more reasonable than drawing conclusions from the latest six year old footage.