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Money should have been spent on lahar prevention

14 July 2004

Guilt money should have been spent on lahar prevention

A $64,000 cheque to Ruapehu District Council is guilt money from a Government that has put political correctness ahead of public safety, says National's Local Government spokesman, Dr Nick Smith.

Taupo MP Mark Burton today gave a $64,000 cheque to the council to help meet costs associated with preparing for the risk of a lahar from Mt Ruapehu.

"It is madness that the Government can give $64,000 to this council, and spend $446,000 on civil defence plans and $1 million on raising the Tangiwai Bridge, when it would have cost just $68,000 to do the necessary earthworks at the crater lake to remove the lahar risk.

"Only a fool would spend money on planning for an emergency when the emergency could be avoided by spending less.

"The Government is intent on playing Russian Roulette with people's lives because it is not prepared to offend a few environmental puritans and Maori spiritualists who do not want earthworks done on the mountain," says Dr Smith.

ENDS

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