Contractors want legal representation at Pike River inquiry

10:21 am on 6 April 2011

A group of contractors who worked at the Pike River Coal mine say they are reluctant to appear before a Royal Commission without legal representation, as it might incriminate them in other investigations.

The commission on Tuesday held a preliminary hearing into the deaths of 29 mine workers and contractors following explosions at the West Coast mine which began on 19 November last year.

Commission chair Justice Panckhurst said the purpose of the inquiry is to find out what happened in the mine and what can be done to prevent it from happening again.

Lawyer David Butler, who represents four contractors, says the Government has refused to pay for representation for the group to appear before the Commission.

Mr Butler says his clients are also being interviewed by the police and the Department of Labour.

He doesn't believe the group has done anything to be concerned about, but they are hesitant to appear unrepresented before the Commission while the other investigations are underway.