Report on Patea site needs thorough study
Report on Patea site needs thorough study – Tariana
MP for Te Tai Hauauru 29 May 2008
“It is good news that the environmental risk assessment of the Patea Freezing Works site shows there is no reason for panic, said Te Tai Hauauru MP Tariana Turia.
“This is a substantial report that needs careful examination,” she said. “The summary I have seen indicates that the main contaminants are the ones we already knew about – asbestos and PCBs – and they are more or less under control.
“I am concerned about the presence of heavy metals in leachate from the site, and I’m not reassured that the toxins are quickly diluted in the estuary.
“Toxins get diluted by being spread around. They all end up in the environment, with the likelihood that they will enter food chains.
“People fish in the Patea River and at the rivermouth, for whitebait, mullet and kahawai. Species like flounder and gurnard feed on the bottom, eating worms and crabs that live in the mud where these metals end up settling. The effects of metal poisoning can take years to become obvious.
“This will need to be addressed, and I will want to look into the report properly. However I guess it’s better to have identified the risk, so it can be dealt with urgently,” she said.
“The next issue is who will set the standard for the cleanup, and who will pay for it. I would hope that central government will now demonstrate leadership in managing an effective response to the longstanding concerns of the community.
“The Minister for the Environment gave his commitment in February of this year, that once the results of this investigation were in, they would be able to proceed with assessing the amount available from the Contaminated Sites Remediation Fund.
“I look forward to being involved in discussions to follow up this report,” said Mrs Turia.