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Crown submission on Rena wreck consent application

Crown submission on Rena wreck consent application

The Crown has made an all-of-government submission to the Bay of Plenty Regional Council partially opposing the application to leave the Rena wreck where it is on the Astrolabe (Ōtāiti) Reef, Attorney-General Christopher Finlayson announced today.

The Crown’s submission opposes the application to leave the bow section of the Rena where it is, sitting currently on the top surface of the reef at shallow depths, along with any associated parts of the wreck and debris to a depth of 30m. The Crown’s submission also proposes enhanced monitoring and consent conditions for those parts of the wreck site below 30m.

“The Crown considered a number of factors in reaching its position on a submission relating to the application to leave the Rena wreck where it is,” Mr Finlayson said. “We considered the environmental, cultural and economic interests of New Zealand and the likely cost and feasibility of the complete removal of the wreck, including international comparisons. We also looked very carefully at the health and safety of salvors working in the wreck below 30m and also considered the effect of the proposed consent on the social environment. We carefully considered through this process the principles of the Treaty of Waitangi.”

“In light of these considerations, the Crown believes the bow section and debris field in shallow waters (down to 30m) should be removed as thoroughly as possible. These parts of the wreck raise concerns about impacts on the natural character and environment of the area, and have cultural and health and safety consequences. The Crown understands that the owner continues to work on debris removal.”

“We consider that the environmental impacts on leaving the sections below 30m could be managed through a tighter set of consent and monitoring conditions. Our submission includes recommendations to improve the monitoring and consent conditions in order to ensure the long term effects of what remains of the wreck are appropriately managed.”

The submission strikes a balance between concerns about the wreck remaining on the reef, and the risks (including health and safety for workers at that depth and the risk of damage to the reef) and cost of full wreck removal of the lower sections in deeper water.

The Crown’s submission was submitted this morning.

Link to PDF of full submission

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