Call for Govt to change inquiry's terms of reference

7:09 pm on 7 March 2012

The lawyer for a man whose wife died in the February earthquake in Christchurch wants the Government to change an inquiry's terms of reference to include the search and rescue operation.

Srecko Cvetanov's wife Tamara Cvetanova survived the collapse of the CTV building on 22 February last year, but died a day later still trapped in the rubble along with four other women.

A lawyer for her husband, Nigel Hampton, QC, told the commission on Tuesday that Dr Cvetanova died as a result of inaction and then an inept or inappropriate rescue operation.

Mr Hampton called on the Royal Commission to include the search operation in its investigation.

On Wednesday the commission's chair, Justice Mark Cooper, said the inquiry's terms of reference do not allow this. However, he said the decision opens the way for the coroner to look into the issue.

Mr Hampton says Mr Cvetanov is still determined to have the issue included in the inquiry and they will now try to lobby politicians to build pressure on the Government to change the Royal Commission's terms of reference.