Lawyer calls for airing of New Zealand mine deaths testimony

NEW evidence has emerged about the New Zealand mining disaster which killed 29 men,
including two Scots.

The investigation into the tragedy – which ended in April after 10 weeks of public hearings – could be re-opened after three former managers at the Pike River pit spoke out.

A lawyer for the mine’s former chief executive, Peter Whittall, has asked the royal commission be reconvened for the trio’s testimony.

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Stacey Shortall wants to question former technical staff member Udo Renk and middle managers Terry Moynihan and Greg Borichevsky.

Their confidential evidence, which was lodged after the hearings closed, may now be heard in public.

Shortall – who represented some Pike River directors, managers and officers – claims statements given by the men were relevant to matters put to the commission.

She said: “I have asked to reconvene so the evidence can be heard publicly and tested by cross-examination.”

Malcolm Campbell, 25 and Pete Rodger, 40, died when an explosion tore through the mine in November 2010.

Shortall told how the statements had been put on the commission’s secure website for inquiry participants to view over the past few weeks.

She now wants their evidence to be put to other witnesses, including former Pike River general manager Doug White.

The commission agreed last week to give all inquiry participants until 18 July to lodge submissions on any fresh evidence.

It said: “We consider that this application highlights natural justice issues which apply to any evidence filed since 4 April, 2012, which may have the potential to affect the interests of the participants, not just Pike former directors and officers.”

The commission will then decide whether any further steps, including reconvened hearings were required.