Andrew Little, the Minister responsible for Pike River Re-entry, says he was unaware of the problems at the mine at the time.

IN A INTERVIEW with RNZ's Guyon Espiner on Monday, Andrew Little denied he knew about any of the problems reported by workers at the Pike River mine because 'he hadn't been advised'. 

The Minister responsible for Pike River Re-entry said he stood by his comments as President of the Engineering, Printing and Manufacturing Union (EPMU) that Pike River was no different from any other mine and that it had 'a good safety and health committee'.

Guyon Espiner pointed out that the Royal Commission had recorded that Pike River workers had reported over 1000 incidents at the mine. Little said that he was unaware of these reports.

"The EPMU had over 50,000 members and I didn't receive detailed reports about everything happening at every worksite'.

But he also said that he was aware that the mine was behind schedule, that the company was under financial pressure and that there questions about some of the men being sent underground and their level of experience.

And on November 22, 2010, as President of the EPMU, Little told RNZ that "Every mine on the West Coast takes great care when it goes into production and I don't think Pike River is any different to that. They've had a good health and safety committee that's been very active. So there's been nothing that's alerted to us to any greater risk of this sort of incident happening than at any other time."

You can listen to the interview here.


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