Commission would consider compelling witnesses

12:32 pm on 6 April 2011

The Royal Commission into the Pike River coal disaster is reiterating it would consider compelling witnesses to appear at its inquiry into the disaster if it had to, but does not wish to force people to appear.

Receivers PricewaterhouseCoopers says it does not have the money to enable it to organise the boxes of material into proper submissions for the commission unless it gets get financial support.

The Commission has turned down its request for finance, and the receivers have now asked the Government for money.

If the receivers were compelled to appear before the commission, trigger liability insurances that would cover most of the cost would be triggered.

Radio New Zealand has been told by a source close to the scene that the legal bill for appearing before the commission would be $4 million.

This has not been confirmed by the law firm involved, Minter Ellison, and a spokesperson for the receivers, John Fisk, would only say that the bill would be millions.

Mr Fisk has said the receivers' total funds are $7 million, of which $5 million is set aside for stabilisation of the mine.

Meanwhile, Department of Labour and police investigations are proceeding.