Pair in court over 1987 Red Fox murder

Two men charged with the murder and robbery of Maramarua publican Chris Bush 30 years ago have appeared in the High Court as their lawyers argued for the trial date to be pushed back.

Mr Bush was shot dead just before midnight on Saturday, October 24, 1987, at the Red Fox Tavern in Maramarua.

Having closed up the tavern, Mr Bush was having a drink with three staff members when two heavily disguised people burst in yelling "This is a hold-up" before shooting the publican, police said in a statement in August.

The 57- and-58 year-old men accused of the crime are due to face trial in August and have pleaded not guilty to the charges.

However, on Wednesday at the High Court at Auckland one of the defence teams asked for the trial date to be pushed back to a later date.

They argued they needed more time because of the size and complexity of the case and to question how the 30 year gap between the shooting and police bringing charges potentially raised issues about the validity of the evidence.

However, Justice Paul Davison retained the trial date but did set down eight weeks for its duration due to its complexity.

Both accused men have name suppression.