National had three years to get oil act together

Press Release – New Zealand Labour Party

15 October 2011 MEDIA STATEMENT Govt had three years to get oil act together National has known for three years about a recommendation that would have seen proper rules around financial responsibility for tragedies such as the Rena oil spill but chose …National has known for three years about a recommendation that would have seen proper rules around financial responsibility for tragedies such as the Rena oil spill but chose to do nothing, says Labour Leader Phil Goff.

“The Transport and Industrial select committee reported in late 2008 that the Convention on Limitation of Liability and Maritime Claims should be passed into legislation.

This would have doubled the $12million liability limit in the case of the Rena and funded compensation for businesses and property adversely affected.

“Current ministers Kate Wilkinson and Maurice Williamson both sat on the committee and would have been aware of the importance of passing the legislation.

“A briefing to the incoming minister in 2008 noted that the Ministry was preparing to introduce legislation to update the Maritime Transport Act. Three years later nothing has been done.

“Adoption of the legislation would have ensured liability around insurance was clear and made it easier to claim for economic loss and clean up costs incurred through the Rena disaster.

“It would have allowed for more adequate, prompt and effective compensation,” Phil Goff said.

“Third parties who suffer economic loss because of a spill of bunker oil would have had a simpler and more certain remedy available.

“The failure of the Government to pick up the recommendations is a sorry precursor to its failure to ensure a quicker response following the grounding of the Rena.

“ It comes on top of insufficient funding of the oil pollution fund and strong criticism of its decision not to properly fund Maritime New Zealand.

“Taken together this represents poor governance and shows massive short comings on the part of the Government.

“A Labour Government would, as a matter of urgency, pass legislation in line with the convention , review the funding of Maritime New Zealand and the oil preparedness fund and initiate an inquiry into the failure to remove oil more quickly from the Rena, Phil Goff said.

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