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Rena is a challenge to environmental consciousness

Rena is a challenge to this generation’s environmental consciousness

How New Zealanders respond to the Rena will be the test of environmental consciousness for this generation.

Yesterday's Rena reports will be lost in the ether of past headlines, says independent MP Brendan Horan.

Sadly, most New Zealanders will be content to be lulled into thinking that this nation's worst environmental disaster is over. That the Astrolabe Reef is "nearly at its pre-Rena state" and that all is well with the Bay of Plenty.

That Maritime New Zealand's response to the grounding was "flawed but ultimately effective".

However the people of the Bay of Plenty, those of us that live here and are aware of the true facts. We know the report to be false, to be propaganda.

The truth is that the wreck of the Rena is still on the reef. The area is hazardous, with dangerous wires, rusting containers and other debris littering the surrounding seabed.

We know that in October 2011, the people of Tauranga were eager to volunteer, while Maritime NZ had a hurry-up-and-do-nothing policy. Then while seabirds and fish were washing up on Mt Maunganui beach and Motiti Island, they told us all was well.

“The Astrolabe reef used to be one of the most pristine and bountiful fishing and diving spots in the world. Now it is not.

“Now we cannot fish or dive there and haven't been able to for the past two years. This is the reality. The fact is the wreck of the Rena is still on the reef for all to see. And the owners are applying for resource consent to have it remain there forever.

“New Zealanders have two options: they can believe that all is well with theRena, that Elvis is alive and living in Tokoroa, and that man might not have walked on the moon. Or they can believe that to return the Bay of Plenty to its former glory, the wreck of the Rena must be removed in its totality.

“So the question is: Are we as a nation going to do something about it? Or has our environmental consciousness diminished to the point that we are willing to hear no evil, see no evil, and bring on the next soundbite?” said Brendan Horan.


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