24 Apr 2018

Pike River families will have closure - departing mayor

11:09 am on 24 April 2018

The Grey District mayor says the families of the men killed in the 2010 Pike River disaster will have closure before he retires.

Grey District Mayor Tony Kokshoorn.

Tony Kokshoorn Photo: RNZ

Tony Kokshoorn has served 21 years at the council on the West Coast but will retire from politics when his current term ends.

He told Morning Report today it had been nearly eight years since the Pike River disaster and his job from the first explosion was to stick with the 29 victims' families.

"We've had some really down moments, but we've had some good moments as well. so it's a case of resilient Coasters moving this forward, step by step."

He said within 18 months there would be full closure for the families, with an entry likely within the next six months.

Mr Kokshoorn said the West Coast had been transitioning from extractive industries to more sustainable ones, but there were alarm bells over its future.

He said he was worried the government's decision to curb access to conservation land would disrupt that.