Parliament

Gordon Campbell | Parliament TV | Parliament Today | Video | Questions Of the Day | Search

 

Smith "Recklessly Alarmist" Says Lee

7 June 2001
Smith "Recklessly Alarmist" Says Conservation Minister


Conservation Minister Sandra Lee says an early warning system is "well on the way" to being set up to reduce the risk to lives and property from Ruapehu Crater Lake lahars, or floods of water and volcanic debris. In addition, she says, the Police assisted by the Ruapehu District Council and others are setting up arrangements for preventing people being on vulnerable spots on state highways 49 and one when the lahar goes through.

Ms Lee said she had announced last year after considering a comprehensive Environmental Risk Assessment that a public alarm system would be built to ensure authorities had adequate time to close state highways and the railway line to prevent any risk to human life. She said the alarm system would be in place by April 2002.

"Dr Smith is being recklessly alarmist in claiming that peoples' lives will be at risk unless what he himself calls 'minor earthworks' are carried out. Once the system is installed, there will be no chance of a repeat of the situation that led to the1953 Tangiwai rail disaster where the lahar was unexpected as no warning system was in place," Ms Lee said.

"It also needs to be stated that a major lahar is the worst-case scenario. The ash dam at the Crater Lake may turn out to be too weak to hold back any significant volume of water, and in such a case, the lahar would be relatively harmless. But all our planning and preparation assumes the worst case scenario."

Ms Lee said she had arranged for the recommendations in the original DOC report on the proposal to be peer-reviewed by an independent lahar specialist. The review endorsed the findings of the original report, supporting the alarm system, as well as recommending installation of a bund, a stock bank.

She said factors taken into account when crater rim engineering work was discounted included
* risk assessments carried out by agencies such as Transpower and Tranzrail that concluded the risks to their infrastructure did not require engineering work at the crater;
* the fact that installation of an alarm system and responses to it would reduce the risks to the public to very low levels;
* the fact that the alarm system would have long-term benefits, as opposed to the short-term benefits of bulldozing a ditch at the crater rim which could be filled in by an eruption before the lahar occurred;
* the fact that there are other ways a hazardous lahar could be generated, apart from the collapse of the outlet dam, including changes in the crater rim that occurred during or since the 1995-96 eruptions.

"The construction of the early warning system is a DOC management issue, rather than one for the Minister of Conservation; however my prime focus here is on matters of public safety above all else, as I have made consistently clear to the Director-General of Conservation," Ms Lee said.

Ends

© Scoop Media

 
 
 
Parliament Headlines | Politics Headlines | Regional Headlines

Pike River: Mine Drift Re-Entry Plan To Proceed

The Pike River Mine Drift will be re-entered, Minister Responsible for Pike River Re-entry Andrew Little announced today.

“I’ve decided the Te Kāhui Whakamana Rua Tekau Mā Iwa - Pike River Recovery Agency, recommended course of action to enter the drift, using the existing access tunnel, is by far the safest option,” said Andrew Little...

“The advice I have received indicates that it is likely to be around February before the re-entry proper gets underway, by breaching the 30m seal.” More>>

 

Appointments: New High Commissioner To Australia Announced

“Dame Annette King needs no introduction given her long running career as a parliamentarian where she has previously held a number senior Cabinet portfolios, including Justice, Police and Health. She also was Parliament’s longest serving female MP with 30 years’ service,” said Mr Peters. More>>

ALSO:

Rebuilding: Silvia Cartwright To Lead Inquiry Into EQC

“The inquiry will be the first of its kind under the Public Inquiries Act 2013 and will have all the powers of a Royal Commission, be independent of Government and make its report directly to the Governor-General. More>>

ALSO:

Gordon Campbell: On The Royal Commission Into Child Abuse

Obviously, it is good news that the coalition government has broadened the scope of its Royal Commission into the abuse of children, beyond its previous focus on children in state care. More>>

ALSO:

Cases Delayed: Court Staff Refuse To Handle Sentencing Papers

Dozens of court cases have reportedly been delayed, as court staff escalate industrial action at two Auckland courts by enforcing a ban on handling sentencing papers. More>>

ALSO:

Education: Primary Teachers Rolling Strikes

RNZ Report: More than 100,000 primary school students in Auckland will be home from school today as teachers and principals walk off the job for the second time this year. It's the start of a week of rolling one-day strikes around the country, after the collapse of contract negotiations last Thursday. More>>

ALSO:

"Process Was Sound": Inquiry Into Haumaha Appointment Released

The Inquiry’s purpose was to examine, identify, and report on the adequacy of the process that led to the appointment. It found the process was sound and no available relevant information was omitted. More>>

ALSO:

Govt Loses In Supreme Court: Call For Debate On Prisoners' Right To Vote

The court earlier this week upheld a High Court decision which found that a law restricting a prisoner's right to vote was inconsistent with the Bill of Rights. More>>

ALSO:

 
 
 
 
 

LATEST HEADLINES

  • PARLIAMENT
  • POLITICS
  • REGIONAL
 
 

InfoPages News Channels