Rena report just one part of the story

Press Release – New Zealand Labour Party

Facts released today on the grounding of the Rena underline the need for a full inquiry into the incident, Labour’s Environment spokesperson Grant Robertson said. Grant Robertson Deputy Leader Environment Spokesperson

8 March 2012

Rena report just one part of the story

Facts released today on the grounding of the Rena underline the need for a full inquiry into the incident, Labour’s Environment spokesperson Grant Robertson said.

“Justice is taking its course for those primarily responsible for the ships grounding, with both the Rena’s captain and navigation officer pleading guilty in court.

“This report shows that serious errors were made that had disastrous consequences. It is bizarre that 40 minutes went by when the crew were not exactly sure where the ship was.

“While the series of mistakes that led to the ships grounding are important, investigating the timeliness and adequacy of the government response and what changes are needed in the event of a future incident are equally urgent.

“This report is only one part of the story,” Grant Robertson said.

“New Zealanders are still questioning why the response from government agencies wasted five days of calm weather before any attempt was made to get oil off the Rena, despite knowing within minutes that environmental degradation was ‘inevitable’.

“There are still too many unanswered questions around the government’s capability to respond to environmental disasters, let alone the need to protect Kiwi taxpayers from financial exposure to disasters.

“The Rena was a devastating illustration of why a responsible government doesn’t run down the public sector. Maritime New Zealand had a lack of onsite specialists, which meant it was operating without salvage expertise for too long.

“New Zealanders need assurances that lessons have been learnt. They need to know that there are not only systems, but people on the ground, to ensure that an environmental disaster of this scale won’t happen again.

“That is why Labour has been calling for a wider, transparent inquiry. For all we know nothing has changed. The government has refused to commit to an inquiry and until it does Kiwis will carry the can.

“Locals showed incredible resilience and commitment in the days and months following the grounding, at the very least they deserve a thorough inquiry,” Grant Robertson said.

ENDS

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