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Sandra Lee On 5th Anniversary Of 'Cave Creek'

Statement by the Minister of Conservation to mark the 5th anniversary of 'Cave Creek'

For immediate release 27 April 2000

"The concept of atonement is not new. But it seems right to me that Governments show a growing willingness to accept responsibility years after the misconceived action or inaction of their predecessors, as well as an awareness of the need for appropriate remedial measures."

"The most recent local examples can be seen in the profound apologies offered by the Crown and solemnly accepted by Maori, along with compensation, in settlements for the loss of lives, land or mana that sparked some of the Treaty grievance claims."

"Five years after the tragic disaster at Cave Creek on 28 April 1995, I believe it is fitting that as Minister of Conservation I should offer to share the responsibility of my immediate predecessors."

"Today I add my own profound and sincere apology to the family and friends of the 13 young people and the Department of Conservation staff member who died following the collapse of the viewing platform."

"I believe that as the current Minister of Conservation I have a moral responsibility to apologise, regardless of whether or not I have a legal responsibility to do so, in order to atone for their deaths in an appropriate way."

"Meanwhile, the new Government must play its part in continuing to honour their memory by ensuring that such a tragedy never happens again."

Sandra Lee
Minister of Conservation
27 April 2000

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