Contractors and suppliers to the Pike River Coal mine on the West Coast say their businesses are in jeopardy.
Twenty-nine men died in the mine near Greymouth from explosions which began on 19 November last year. Their bodies have not been recovered.
Spokesperson Peter Haddock estimates up to 20 small firms are owed over $100,000 for services before the explosions, as well as recovery work.
Mr Haddock says they were assured by police and the Pike River Coal Ltd that police would co-ordinate and pay for the recovery.
He says that at a time business owners are grieving the loss of friends and colleagues in the mine disaster, police have not told them when they will be paid.
The businesses have not been paid since October last year and it is threatening their viability, he says.