7 Feb 2011

Anger over property investment by West Coast trust

6:13 am on 7 February 2011

Contractors owed money by Pike River Coal are angry at reports that Development West Coast is considering buying a $30 million investment property after refusing to bail them out.

Various companies are owed up to $8 million. They were contracted to Pike River Coal at the time of the mine explosion that killed 29 men on 19 November.

Wellington lawyer David Butler says the contractors have approached Development West Coast for help, but are disappointed with the response so far.

Mr Butler says reports that the trust is negotiating to buy a high-rise building in Christchurch valued at $30 million is a bitter blow for them.

However, he says the group remains hopeful that the trust will give them some assistance.

DWC chief executive John Chang says the trust cannot give grants to individual companies, but has offered to support businesses on a case-by-case basis.

Dr Chang says he is unable to confirm whether the trust is buying property in Christchurch, but says it has a broad investment portfolio.