17 Jan 2011

Pike River contractors plead for financial help

7:02 am on 17 January 2011

The Pike River Contractors and Suppliers Group is calling for financial assistance, saying more than 80 of them are owed about $8 million and have had no pay since October.

The group was formed last year when its members were told by Pike River Coal's receivers that, as unsecured creditors, they were unlikely to be paid.

The group's chairman, Peter Haddock, says many contractors are in financial dire straits and some businesses are on the brink of going under.

He wants the Government and the economic agency, Development West Coast, to offer grants or loans for those in need.

The companies have a total of 200 employees.

Meanwhile, Grey District mayor Tony Kokshoorn says he is still waiting for a response to his request to the Government for a $13 million stimulus package for the area following the mine disaster.

He says the money is needed to get the West Coast back on its feet, and some would go towards assisting the mine's contractors and suppliers.

Mr Kokshoorn says he has also asked the Minister of Energy and Resources and Economic Development, Gerry Brownlee, to bring forward plans for other coal mines on the West Coast so the region can retain its workforce.

Twenty-nine workers died in the mine disaster in November. Money owed to the employers of the 13 contractors who died was settled last year.