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Archive for the ‘Rena’ Category

Who pays for Rena – the questions the leader of the national party has to answer

Posted by on October 31st, 2011

On Day 23 of the Rena Disaster, Skipper Key sailed into Tauranga last week to view the ship on the rocks.  There were no “Mission Accomplished” banners though, because with hundreds of tonnes of oil and 1300 containers, some with poisonous chemicals, still on board there is still a great risk to the livelihoods of the people of the Bay of Plenty, birds and marine life in and around this reef that was once teaming with life.

John Key was asked about the total cost of the clean-up and gave one of his usual less than confident answers: “It’s a big number. $70 million, $80 million or $100 million maybe”.  Of course, as usual, he failed provide was an answer to the hard question:  Who is going to pay for the costs of this disaster?

John Key and Steven Joyce were adamant in the early days that the owners were liable for all costs but that all changed when reality caught up to the spin.  That hasn’t stopped Mr Joyce from spinning some more.  Yesterday he reminded us that the owner’s insurers have said they will meet their liability.  But that is no assurance at all, because the owner’s liability is limited by law and as a result the taxpayer will have to pick up the a big chunk of the tab.

This was not just an accident. It looks as if the grounding was an act of negligence and that fault was involved.  Someone other than the taxpayer should be liable for the consequences. (more…)

the leader of the national party – “About the last thing I need is a ship on a reef.”

Posted by on October 21st, 2011

H/T John Pagani

Filed under: Rena

Joyce Key hiding the truth on Rena

Posted by on October 18th, 2011

Last week Joyce claimed the opposition was playing politics with the Rena disaster because they had not asked him for a briefing.

So, on Friday I asked Joyce and the man in charge of the Government, John Key, for all of the briefings and reports they received to be released so that the public could be reassured that everything that could be done was done and was continuing to be done.

Such briefings generally pull a lot of information together in succinct fashion. And, since they were already written for the Government they do not require officials working on the crisis to be pulled away from their duties to answer the same questions again. We made it an urgent request and asked that the documents be supplied by the end of the day Monday.

As suspected, there was never any intention of being transparent because both Key and Joyce have replied with delaying tactics. Joyce has gone so far as to hide behind the fact that MNZ officials are working on the disaster and cannot be diverted from dealing with it.

I agree  that officials should concentrate on averting further damage to the Bay of Plenty environment and economy and that is why I specifically asked for only briefing Joyce and the PM received – not what officials wrote amongst themselves, not emails or any other documents – just reports and briefings that the ministers themselves specifically received. At the point of the request there would have been 10 days of reports and briefings.

A ministerial clerk with a photocopier could have easily copied those in ten minutes. Or printed them off the computer in two.  The fact that Mr Joyce and Mr Key have refused to provide this information proves that Mr Joyce’s pretence of transparency last week was nothing more than a political ploy to deflect from John Key’s and his own slow response to this disaster.


Posted by on October 15th, 2011

The people of Tauranga are heartbroken about what is happening to their beautiful coastline, the wildlife and kaimoana. They’re helping wherever they can and where they are allowed, but the questions are coming thick and fast.

I’ve been a member of the Transport and Industrial Relations Select Committee since I entered parliament in 2005. In mid 2008, our committee examined the International Treaty on amending the Convention of Limitation of Liability for Marine Claims. The Select Committee was chaired by the Hon Mark Gosche, who left parliament in the 2008 election. Maurice Williamson and Kate Wilkinson, who are now both government Ministers were also part of that committee.

The Committee recommended that the Convention should be passed into legislation, so that it could be enforced by New Zealand courts. This would have doubled the $12 million liability limit in the case of the Rena and funded compensation for businesses and property adversely affected.

A briefing to the incoming minister in 2008 noted that the Ministry was preparing to introduce legislation to update the Maritime Transport Act.

Guess what? Legislation was never introduced. Meanwhile, Maritime NZ was engaged on pointless value for money exercises demanded by the government.

This is sloppy work by Steven Joyce.  And I reckon that Maurice and Kate were so excited about becoming Ministers they forgot to brief Minister Joyce. Ironical that Kate Wilkinson is now the Minister for Conservation and Maurice Williamson has been dealing with leaky homes.  This is most definitely the leaky homes crisis of the sea, and Maurice Williamson started it all in 1992 with the deregulation of coastal shipping.

I feel for the people of Tauranga Moana and they can quite rightly ask why the National Party has let them down so badly.

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Filed under: Rena

On the ground in Tauranga

Posted by on October 11th, 2011

I’ve spent today in Tauranga checking out the Rena situation in my role as Labour’s Transport Safety spokesperson

I’ve had briefings from Maritime NZ and the Maritime Union, I visited the operations centre and been out to the Wildlife Recovery Centre.

This is big folks. There’s a looming environmental crisis of unimaginable scale.

Here’s some facts. There’s 1700 tones of oil on the Rena. When the Pacific Adventurer spilled 230 tones in Queensland in 2009, the government declared a state
of emergency for what was described as the worst environmental disaster in Queensland history. It took 16 months and millions of dollars to clean it up.

The Wildlife Centre is preparing to deal with up to 500 oiled wildlife from the leaked oil, but this could become large scale should more oil leak.

The locals are very worried. Everyone is saying it’s going to get much worse before it
gets better. They’re bracing for a hit on the local economy, which has already been dealing with a downturn due to Psa.

They’re doing their best down here. There’s some wonderful people on the ground.
They deserve the best the government can provide and they need reassurance they will get it.

Filed under: Rena