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


Power Wrong Again: Lahar Safety Measures in place

14 January 2005 Media Statement

Power Wrong Again: Lahar Safety Measures in place

Conservation Minister Chris Carter assured the public today that the Government is doing all it can to ensure safety to those living near Mt Ruapehu. He was responding to comments by National's Simon Power who claimed that the Government was taking very little action regarding the pending lahar.

“Mr Power should acquaint himself with the extensive safety measures the government and the Ruapehu District Council have taken rather than trying to needlessly alarm local people for cynical political motives.”

"After careful consideration the government decided a long-term solution to the lahar threat was required. Ruapehu is a very active volcano, and the present crater lake has produced very many lahars in the last few hundred years. These lahars have been caused by a variety of mechanisms, including eruptions and collapse of the crater rim. Some of these incidents have been roughly one to two orders of magnitude larger than the 1953 event, and much larger than that which is predicted to occur in the next 1-3 years."

Many of these lahars occur without warning.

"Disaster occurred in the case of the 1953 event because the threat was not understood and precautions, including adequately designed infrastructure and warning systems, were not in place." Mr Carter said.

“We now have state of the art warning systems, automated road closure gates, and the road bridge is being raised and strengthened. We will be able to protect the public when the lahar occurs.”

"It was sad to see Mr Power arguing that the lake level should have been artificially lowered. Such intervention would have endangered workers’ lives and almost certainly have failed to eliminate the lahar risk and could have made matters worse.

Reducing the lake level would not prevent lahars occurring. We cannot prevent Ruapehu erupting, nor alter the fact that the Whangaehu Valley is probably the most active lahar path in the world. If viable transport and other infrastructure across, or near it, are to be maintained, the infrastructure had to be strengthened or re-sited, and emergency management improved.

We have taken these actions. "

"The government’s priority has been the long-term safety of the public. A recent test of the lahar warning and traffic stopping systems successfully demonstrated their high performance. This government is the first in decades to have done anything concrete to protect the lives of those using roads around the volcano by ensuring the State Highway 49 bridge is raised and strengthened. These and other measures taken will provide long-term protection for the highway travellers, which up to now has been absent. " Mr Carter said.

"This government is committed to preventing another Tangiwai disaster. The mitigation works and emergency response plans are long-term safety measures that will help ensure, as far as possible, that any future lahars, no matter how they are triggered, do not pose a serious risk to public safety." Mr Carter said.


© Scoop Media

Parliament Headlines | Politics Headlines | Regional Headlines


Breed Laws Don’t Work: Vets On New National Dog Control Plan

It is pleasing therefore to see Louise Upston Associate Minister for Local Government calling for a comprehensive solution... However, relying on breed specific laws to manage dog aggression will not work. More>>


Corrections Corrected: Supreme Court Rules On Release Dates

Corrections has always followed the lawful rulings of the Court in its calculation of sentence release dates. On four previous occasions, the Court of Appeal had upheld Corrections’ practices in calculating pre-sentence detention. More>>


Not Waiting On Select Committee: Green Party Releases Medically-Assisted Dying Policy

“Adults with a terminal illness should have the right to choose a medically assisted death,” Green Party health spokesperson Kevin Hague said. “The Green Party does not support extending assisted dying to people who aren't terminally ill because we can’t be confident that this won't further marginalise the lives of people with disabilities." More>>


General Election Review: Changes To Electoral Act Introduced

More effective systems in polling places and earlier counting of advanced votes are on their way through proposed changes to our electoral laws, Justice Minister Amy Adams says. More>>

Gordon Campbell: On Our Posturing At The UN

In New York, Key basically took an old May 2 Washington Post article written by Barack Obama, recycled it back to the Americans, and still scored headlines here at home… We’ve had a double serving of this kind of comfort food. More>>


Treaty Settlements: Bills Delayed As NZ First Pulls Support

Ngāruahine, Te Atiawa and Taranaki are reeling today as they learnt that the third and final readings of each Iwi’s Historical Treaty Settlement Bills scheduled for this Friday, have been put in jeopardy by the actions of NZ First. More>>


Gordon Campbell: On The Damage De-Regulation Is Doing To Fisheries And Education, Plus Kate Tempest

Our faith in the benign workings of the market – and of the light-handed regulation that goes with it – has had a body count. Back in 1992, the free market friendly Health Safety and Employment Act gutted the labour inspectorate and turned forestry, mining and other workplace sites into death traps, long before the Pike River disaster. More>>

Get More From Scoop



Search Scoop  
Powered by Vodafone
NZ independent news