5 May 2017

'Everyone was trying ... to be open and transparent'

6:18 pm on 5 May 2017

The Deputy Police Commissioner has insisted police did not try to mislead the Pike River victims' families.

Police today released 13 hours of footage taken by a robot inside the Pike River Mine, some of which shows the robot and two workers inside the mine's access tunnel.

It came after some of that footage was leaked to families of some of the victims, who claimed police had not shown it to them.

They said the video proved the mine's main entry tunnel was safe to search for bodies and evidence - which the mine's owner, Solid Energy, has continually disputed.

Police Deputy Commissioner Mike Clement told Checkpoint with John Campbell excerpts from the video were shown at family meetings in 2011, including some footage of two workers wearing breathing apparatus in the air-lock at the entrance to the drift with the robot.

He said they had not tried to mislead the families.

"My view of it is that everyone was trying to do exactly the opposite, [which was] to be open and transparent," he said.

Mr Clement said he accepted there were views held now that that was not the case.

"But I've spoken to the staff [involved], they're as upset as everybody that they're now being accused of deceiving the family members."

Anna Osborne, widow of Milton Osborne who died in the mine, said the families were never shown any excerpts of workers inside the drift.

"We would have remembered seeing that," she said.

She said police were engaging in damage control by publicly releasing footage taken inside the mine.

"I think because the families had received a leaked version of it and because we were making some of it public, the police and the government were quite embarrassed by it all and in the end they had to act," Ms Osborne said.

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