Coroner will look at earthquake emergency response

8:35 am on 8 March 2012

Any questions about the response of emergency services following the February earthquake in Christchurch will be addressed when a Coronial Inquest resumes.

Earlier this week, a lawyer told the Canterbury Earthquakes Royal Commission that five victims of the earthquake died as a result of inaction and then inept or inadequate search and rescue efforts.

The commission on Wednesday said an inquiry into the search and rescue operations was outside its terms of reference.

The chief coroner, Judge Neil MacLean, told Radio New Zealand's Morning Report programme that the Coronial Inquest will be able to investigate the issue with all the authority of the Royal Commission.

Judge MacLean said the inquest will have the power to summon witnesses, to sit with a specialist adviser and have counsel assisting.