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Questions Asked Over Dumping of Asbestos

Denis O’Rourke MP
Spokesperson for Christchurch Earthquake Issues
12 February 2014

Questions Asked Over Dumping of Asbestos

New Zealand First is calling on Earthquake Recovery Minister Gerry Brownlee to deny that toxic asbestos waste is being transported from quake-hit Christchurch to Southland, or that it soon will be.

“Can the Minister deny that there is a proposal to cart asbestos-contaminated material to a substandard landfill?,” asks spokesperson for Christchurch Earthquake Issues Denis O’Rourke.

“Can the Minister reassure New Zealanders that all asbestos-containing materials will be permanently dumped in a properly built and designated facility and put an end to the rumours that are circulating?

“Can the Minister confirm that material containing asbestos will not be transported in containers, trucks or wagons that have not been specifically built for the purpose?

“Authorities warn that there is a health risk associated with asbestos if it is exposed or damaged. Breathing in fibres can lead to breathing difficulties and even lung cancer. If asbestos is left undisturbed it is considered safe.

“That’s why there are guidelines for safe work practices and transportation.

“Christchurch has a purpose built, multi-million dollar landfill at Kate Valley with trucks specially designed to carry waste to the site north of Christchurch.

“There is no need to be shopping around for a cut-price deal to get rid of the Christchurch stockpiles.

“There is no need to even consider transporting asbestos-contaminated materials in unsuitable containers to an inferior facility.

“With the demolition of an unprecedented number of buildings containing asbestos in Christchurch, safety is of paramount importance.

“New Zealand First calls on the Minister to provide reassurances to the people of Canterbury, Southland and places in between on the handling, transporting and dumping of asbestos-contaminated material,” says Mr O’Rourke.

ENDS

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