Parliament

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

 

Lee satisfied with Ruapehu lahar risk response

18 December 2001 Media Statement
Lee satisfied with Ruapehu lahar risk response management


Conservation Minister Sandra Lee has completed a review of the management decisions taken to date to minimise the risks to safety associated with the impending Ruapehu Crater Lake lahar.

The Minister has announced today she is satisfied that the installation of a state of the art alarm and warning system, and the construction of a stopbank alongside the Whangaehu River are sufficient to address risks to public safety from an expected lahar.

Ms Lee said that in addition to the installation of an alarm and warning systems and the construction of a stopbank, the Department of Conservation was working closely with the Police and the Ministry of Civil Defence and Emergency Management to develop an appropriate emergency response plan.

As well, the Ministry is helping organisations with assets in the predicted lahar path to review their individual civil defence response plans.

As part of the review, Ms Lee had considered proposals to undertake engineering work at the Ruapehu Crater Lake to reduce the impact of a lahar. The Minister has decided against undertaking this action.

She said engineering works had been suggested by some local authorities but were opposed by environmental and recreational groups, the Tongariro/Taupo Conservation Board, the New Zealand Conservation Authority and by local iwi.

“The Government has also agreed to favourably consider any application for recovery assistance for the reinstatement of any damaged infrastructure made by the Ruapehu District Council in the event of the worst case, or near worst case, lahar event," Ms Lee said

“On balance I am satisfied, that the potential risk to staff working on the creation of a partial trench at the Crater rim is greater and cannot be mitigated or managed while the risk to the public using the park or at risk infrastructure without engineering at the Crater rim can.
"Intervention will create some significant risks for the workers at the crater rim. These risks are at least as high as any residual risks downstream.

"These factors, taken together with public concerns about the impact on national park values that would occur by bulldozing into the summit of the mountain, have convinced me that the recommended measures are the most appropriate response to the lahar threat. Accordingly I have decided against the proposal to undertake engineering work at the crater rim”, Ms Lee said.

Ms Lee said lahars were a well-known hazard on Ruapehu. The combination of a large volume of water poised high above the surrounding terrain on top of an active volcano constitutes a potentially hazardous situation should the volcano erupt or crater rim fail.

Over 60 lahars have been recorded in the Whangaehu valley since the 1860s, the latest occurring during the 1996 eruption. Lahars can be triggered by a number of causes with the most common cause being eruptions.

Ms Lee said the issue was complex and that her decision against asking the Department of Conservation to undertake engineering work at the crater rim followed a lengthy period of consultation with technical experts, the community and other stakeholders.

“The significant amount of information gathered has been subject to independent peer review and I have also had input from other Government Ministers with portfolios that would be affected by a lahar.

“This information and advice, and my subsequent decision, is based on the worst case scenario of a sudden collapse of the crater rim when the lake has filled to the top of the dam. The lake is predicted to fill between late 2002 and 2005.”

“In addition, an engineering intervention at the Crater Lake would be inconsistent with the provisions of the National Parks Act, the Tongariro National Park Management Plan and the World Heritage Convention.

"This area is of outstanding international significance for its natural values. Given the high natural values of the crater and the intense interest in the area," she said, "intervention would have been highly controversial and there would have been considerable uncertainty as to whether the required consents could have been obtained."

ENDS

© Scoop Media

 
 
 
Parliament Headlines | Politics Headlines | Regional Headlines

Decision Day: Peters Chooses Labour

Winston Peters says he will form a Government in coalition with Labour and the Greens giving confidence and supply.

Peters said he had been offered the position of Deputy Prime Minister and a number of other ministerial posts would go to his colleagues

He said economic and monetary policy changes were needed to face a coming economic downturn.>>>More

Reaction

Labour on its agreement |Peters: Post-Election Announcement Speech | Greenpeace “cautiously hopeful” about new Government | ACT - Madman on the loose | E tū ecstatic | Chamber welcomes the outcome

 

Climate: Increasing Greenhouse Emissions Hit NZ

New Zealand is seeing impacts of excess greenhouse gas emissions in our climate and oceans, according to the latest national report from the Ministry for the Environment and Stats NZ about the state of the atmosphere and climate…More>>

ALSO:


Wellington.Scoop: Arrests At Blockade Of "Weapons Expo"

“We encourage people in Wellington to get down to the Westpac Stadium now for a day of awesome peace action. There will be plenty of food, music and activities to keep us sustained through the day.” More>>

ALSO:

Rorschach Restructuring: PSA Taking Inland Revenue To Court Over Psychometrics

The Public Service Association will be seeing Inland Revenue in Employment Court over its intention to psychometrically test employees reapplying for their roles at the department as part of its controversial Business Transformation restructuring plan. More>>

ALSO:

Nuclear Disarmament: Nobel Peace Prize 2017 Awarded To ICAN

Congratulations from iCAN Aotearoa New Zealand to international iCAN, the other iCAN national campaigns and partner organisations, and the countless organisations and individuals who have worked so hard for a nuclear weapons-free world since 1945. More>>

ALSO:

Expenses: Waikato DHB CEO Resigns

An independent inquiry has identified that Dr Murray had spent more than the agreed $25K allocated for relocation costs, and other unauthorized expenses involving potential financial breaches of the chief executive’s obligations. More>>

ALSO:

Wellington.Scoop: Sad About The Trolley Buses?

The Regional Council’s MetLink is today spending money to tell us that it really loves Wellington’s trolley buses, even though they’re all being taken off our roads by the end of this month. More>>

ALSO:

Post-Election: Preliminary Coalition Talks Begin

New Zealand First will hold post-election preliminary discussions in Wellington with the National Party tomorrow morning and the Labour Party tomorrow afternoon. More>>

 
 
 
 
 

LATEST HEADLINES

  • PARLIAMENT
  • POLITICS
  • REGIONAL
 
 

Featured InfoPages

Opening the Election