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Patea residents Need Answers says Turia

Patea residents Need Answers says Turia

Co-ordinated Agency Wide Strategy for Patea Required
Tariana Turia, Member of Parliament for Te Tai Hauauru
Friday 8 February 2008

Te Tai Hauauru MP, Tariana Turia, has repeated her call for a co-ordinated agency-wide strategy to be immediately put in place in Patea to protect Patea residents from the health risks associated with asbestos exposure.

“What we have had from authorities so far, is at best, tentative” said Mrs Turia.

“The Taranaki Medical Officer of Health has confirmed there could be long-term problems associated with asbestos exposure” said Mrs Turia.

“But despite this, the Taranaki DHB Public Health Unit has said that anyone with concerns should contact the local hospital during working hours”.

“The Taranaki District Council has said they will take some action next week to reduce the risk of any asbestos particles at the site becoming airborne; while at the same time saying there is longer-term work going on assessing the site for any potentially dangerous substances still there”.

“Then today, I hear that regional councils around Aotearoa do not know exactly how many contaminated sites there are – or even where they are” said Mrs Turia.

“These are real people’s lives we are dealing with” said Mrs Turia. “I have had Patea residents come to me, distraught with the lack of information and uncertainty about their circumstances”.

“The thing is, anxiety for the safety and well-being of your children and family isn’t only restricted to ‘during working hours’, and nor will it be put aside until a more convenient time 'next week'” said Mrs Turia.

“We need to know who is responsible for the massive clean-up operation that will be needed; and how the community of Patea will be protected from asbestos contamination in the process” said Mrs Turia.

“And with all the questions swirling around this site in particular, we need to have answers – I have been told the rates on the site haven’t been paid for years. If the former freezing works were indeed private property, who is responsible for the cleanup?”

“The constituents that have approached my office believe that the hospital in Patea is also ridden with asbestos – and they fear another disaster just waiting in the wings” said Mrs Turia.

“They want to know who is going to clean up the site, who is going to pay for the clean-up, and when” said Mrs Turia.

“This community does not need any further problems” ended Mrs Turia. “If the fire had happened in a more affluent community, do you think everyone would still be sitting on their hands?”.


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