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


PC-ness put ahead of safety with Ruapehu decision

Hon Dr Nick Smith
National Environment Spokesperson

10 March 2004

Government puts political correctness ahead of safety with Ruapehu decision

Conservation Minister Chris Carter has put his government's politically correct concerns over Maori spirituality and purist environmentalism ahead of public safety in deciding not to proceed with minor earthworks to prevent a large lahar on Mt Ruapehu, says National Environment Spokesperson Dr Nick Smith.

The tephra rim of Mt Ruapehu's crater lake is expected to burst at some point between late 2004 and 2005, sending millions of cubic meters of mud and rock into the Whangaehu River.

"It is madness for the government not to proceed with minor engineering works to unblock the Ruapehu crater lake's exit into the Whangaehu River. These works would cost just $200,000 and would remove the very serious risk to life and millions of dollars in damage to properties downstream," says Dr Smith.

"Ministers Carter and Hawkins make fools of themselves in claiming that these minor engineering works cannot be carried out due to the risk to workers. This is a minor excavation that could be carried out by any number of civil engineering contractors in perfect safety.

"This latest justification for inaction is a smokescreen for the real reason of not wanting to offend Maori or environmentalists. While environmental and cultural concerns are important, public safety must come first.

"I challenge the Government to release the technical reports that say this work cannot be carried out safely," says Dr Smith.

"The Government must, at the very least, provide an indemnity that it will pick up the cost of any damage from the lahar as it is they that have decided, on behalf of local residents, not to take any measures to prevent it.

"It seems the Government is intent on playing Russian Roulette with people's lives and property."


© Scoop Media

Parliament Headlines | Politics Headlines | Regional Headlines

PM's Press Conference: Pike Re-Entry Agency

At today's post-cabinet press conference Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern was joined by Minister Responsible for Pike River Re-entry Andrew Little to announce plans for the new agency for re-entry of the mine.

The Pike River Recovery Agency, Te Kahui Whakamana Rua Tekau ma Iwa, will be officially established on 31 January 2018 and will work with the Pike River families with the intention of manned entry of the drift before March 2019. More>>


Foreign Affairs: Patrick Gower Interviews Jacinda Ardern

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern says discussions have already begun on how to bring climate change refugees into New Zealand under a Pacific seasonal employment plan... More>>


Gordon Campbell: On The Centre Right’s Love Of ‘Nanny State’

You’d almost think it was 2005 again. That was a time when the rugged individualists of the centre-right were being beset by government regulations on the nature of light-bulbs, the size of shower heads, the junk food available at school tuck shops and other such essentials... More>>

Speaking Of Transport: Public Engagement On Wellington Scenarios

“Our work on possible solutions for Wellington’s transport future is ongoing, but has progressed to the stage where we’re ready to share our ideas with the public and seek their feedback to help guide our next steps...” More>>


Parental Leave: National's Time-Sharing Change Fails

National has proposed a change to the Parental Leave and Employment Protection Amendment Bill that would allow both parents to take paid parental leave at the same time, if that is what suits them best. More>>


Train Free Thursday: Workers Strike To Defend Terms Of Employment

"They signed up to these conditions a year ago when they got the contract for Wellington's rail services. Now they're trying to increase profits by squeezing frontline workers." More>>


Seclusion: Ombudsman Emphasises Importance Of Monitoring

Disability Rights Commissioner Paula Tesoriero says that while there have been changes to the Education (Update) Amendment Act 2017 to prohibit the use of seclusion, the report is an important reminder of the importance of regular monitoring of schools. More>>





Featured InfoPages

Opening the Election