Pike River Mine minister Andrew Little says he cannot guarantee a re-entry of the mine and has told family members that he will do what he can but safety is the top priority.

Little will take his proposals for the membership and structure of the Pike River Re-Entry Agency to Cabinet on Monday after commemorating the seventh anniversary of the disaster at Pike River tomorrow.

Those plans include another risk assessment to decide whether a manned re-entry is possible.

He had promised family members they would be involved every step of the way.


"When we get to the point where we've done the planning, done the risk assessment and we're at the point where we make a decision yes or no, they will be part of that decision.

And in the end there can be no absolute guarantee. But what we can guarantee is that we'll do the job properly, plan, prepare and assess and they will be involved every step of the way."

He said that would involve assessing whether any risks could be mitigated and on the advice he had seen so far, that was likely.

"Ultimately, and the families are very clear, the first principle of the set of principles that are governing what we do is safety, the safety of anybody involved in the re-entry project. I'm not going to put anybody at undue risk. I'm simply not going to."

He did not intend to legislate for any exemption to the health and safety laws or immunity from liability for the Pike River Agency.

"I'm confident we can do everything that's needed in terms of planning and preparation without it."

Little said there were several options for the Cabinet to consider which ranged in cost from less than the $10 million National had set aside for Pike River to more costly and thorough options.

As Labour leader, Little had promised a manned re-entry to the drift of the mine to look for the remains of any of the 29 miners who died in the November 2010 explosions and any evidence.


Anna Osborne, whose husband Milton died in the explosion, said the experts retained by the family members would be involved in the safety review Little was planning to ascertain a plan for re-entry.

"Until our experts turn around and tell us it can't be done we will not accept that. We've been lied to, we've had the wool pulled over our eyes for a very long time by people who seem to think they know what they're talking about. So until we hear it from our own experts' mouths we will not accept that Pike River drift cannot be re-entered."

Osborne said Little had so far been true to his word to involve the family members every step of the way in his plans for the Pike River Agency.

"It's something quite new to the families because that's something we haven't had for seven years is a bit of truth and transparency around things."
Those involved in that group included herself, Bernie Monk and Sonya Rockhouse.

The former National government had rejected the families' pleas for a manned re-entry as too risky. Solid Energy had planned to fill the mine with concrete, but the families occupied the mine access road in January to prevent that happening and the plan was eventually abandoned.

At the ceremony to mark the anniversary, Little will hand back to the families the keys to the gate that was erected to stop them going up the road to the mine.

Osborne said it was a symbolic move but very meaningful to the families.