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


Tangiwai: History Set To Repeat

Tangiwai: History Set To Repeat

As we reflect on the Tangiwai tragedy, Christmas Eve 50 years ago, we should be looking ahead and taking more active steps to lessen the likelihood of a recurring destructive lahar, ACT New Zealand Deputy Leader Ken Shirley said today.

"I am appalled that the Labour Government is ignoring all expert advice and compromising public safety to appease the metaphysical beliefs of some local iwi," Mr Shirley said.

"On Christmas Eve 1953, the ash rim of Mount Ruapehu's crater collapsed under pressure from the lake, which had been steadily rising following the 1945 eruption. It was this massive outflow of water, mixed with melting ice and mud that cascaded as a lahar from the crater lake down the Whangaehu River.

"This lahar carried everything before it - including the pylons supporting the railway bridge at Tangiwai. Shortly after, the overnight express from Wellington arrived at the missing bridge, and 151 souls lost their life.

"Geological experts and Government scientists have prepared numerous reports - all of which confirm that the lake level is again slowly rising following the significant 1995 eruption. While it is still 10.0 metres below the old lava lip, the current rate of filling means a perilous situation is likely to exist by 2005.

"It is relatively easy to cut an overflow channel at the lava lip, to ensure the water level does not reach a point where it can breach the ash rim. Despite receiving engineering reports and recommendations to undertake this work, Labour - through the Department of Conservation - has a `non-intervention' policy at the lip.

"Instead, the Government has spent hundreds of thousands of dollars on monitoring alarm systems and diversion bungs down the likely lahar path. Alarm systems are notoriously unreliable and, while offering some warning, would do nothing to ameliorate a likely disaster.

"If Labour is not prepared to take avoidance measures, then it must indemnify the Ruapehu District Council and others who will bear the brunt of the pending, but avoidable, disaster," Mr Shirley said.

© Scoop Media

Parliament Headlines | Politics Headlines | Regional Headlines


Ruataniwha: DOC, Hawke's Bay Council Developer Take Supreme Court Appeal

The Department of Conservation and Hawke's Bay Regional Investment Company (HBRIC) are appealing to the Supreme Court over a conservation land swap which the Court of Appeal halted. More>>


With NZ's Marama Davidson: Women’s Flotilla Leaves Sicily – Heading For Gaza

Women representing 13 countries spanning five continents began their journey yesterday on Zaytouna-Oliva to the shores of Gaza, which has been under blockade since 2007. On board are a Nobel Peace Laureate, three parliamentarians, a decorated US diplomat, journalists, an Olympic athlete, and a physician. A list of the women with their background can be found here. More>>

Gordon Campbell: On The Key Style Of Crisis Management

At Monday’s post Cabinet press conference Key was in his finest wide- eyed “Problem? What problem?” mode. No, there wasn’t really a problem that top MPI officials had been at odds with each other over the meaning of the fisheries policy and how that policy should be pursued... More>>


Mt Roskill: Greens Will Not Stand In Likely Post-Goff By-Election

“The Green Party’s priority is changing the Government in 2017, and as part of that we’ve decided that we won’t stand a candidate in the probable Mt Roskill by-election... This decision shows the Memorandum of Understanding between Labour and the Green Party is working." More>>


Wellington: Predator Free Capital Plan

Wellington City Council (WCC), the Greater Wellington Regional Council (GWRC) and NEXT Foundation, today announced a joint collaboration to make Wellington the first Predator Free capital city in the world. More>>


Gordon Campbell: On Judith Collins’ Efforts At Self Correction

Thousands of prisoners currently in prison may be entitled to an earlier release than expected – and compensation – because Corrections has incorrectly calculated their term of imprisonment. Unless of course, the government buries its mistakes by changing the law and retro-actively getting itself off the hook… More>>


More Justice & Corrections

Sector Opposes Bill: Local Government Bill Timeframe Extended

The Minister of Local Government Peseta Sam Lotu-Iiga has asked the Select Committee to extend the report back date for the Local Government Act 2002 Amendment Bill (No 2). More>>


Get More From Scoop



Search Scoop  
Powered by Vodafone
NZ independent news