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Transcript: Labour Leader, Phil Goff interviewed on TV ONE

Tuesday 15th March, 2011

Transcript: Labour Leader, Phil Goff interviewed on TV ONE's Breakfast at 7:20am this morning.

The full length video interview can also be seen on tvnz.co.nz at, http://tvnz.co.nz/Breakfast

PHIL GOFF interviewed by CORIN DANN

Corin: Let's talk politics now with the Opposition Leader Phil Goff. Good morning Mr Goff.

Phil: Good morning Corin.

Corin: Lots to talk about this morning, let's first deal with the issue of Japan, and I guess the nuclear threat, that is of concern to the world really and New Zealand I suppose?

Phil: Well of huge concern, I mean first of all a massive earthquake, then a huge tsunami, and now the risk of nuclear meltdown, and if there's any country in the world that understands the consequences of radiation on human beings it's Japan. So hugely frightening. I think most of us as New Zealanders are very glad that we're nuclear free, being on the same Ring of Fire as Japan is, nuclear energy never made sense for New Zealand, and we share with Japan and the world you know the huge concern about what the consequences of a meltdown might be, and that this should happen when supposedly there were failsafe devices in place to prevent it.

Corin: Do you have faith in the Japanese authorities that we are getting the full picture of this crisis in terms of that nuclear plant?

Phil: Well it's a democratic country and it has a free press, so we hope that we're getting the full story. You know very clearly there is the warning out there of partial meltdown having happened with the fuel rods, and the potential for a full meltdown. The fact that that is even on the cards is terrifying, and the fact that they're using seawater to try to cool down the nuclear reactor, which means that the reactor will probably never be used again, shows just how eleventh hour that was as a measure to try to prevent catastrophe.

Corin: I mean this raises issues and it already is causing issues for so many countries that actually need to rely on nuclear energy, I mean they can't burn coal any more.

Phil: No well that's right, and you know the world was moving towards nuclear energy and its image had been restored after Chernobyl and Three Mile Island, but I think as we've already seen in Europe, a lot of countries now reassessing just how failsafe nuclear energy is. I mean yeah sure there was a huge quake, it could probably withstand the quake, what it couldn't withstand is the tsunami on top of that, that wiped out its backup systems in terms of its cooling system.

Corin: Right let's move back to Christchurch and the quake in New Zealand. The Royal Commission of Inquiry, is that the right approach to these issues with the buildings?

Phil: Well we do need to know why it was that the stairwells at Forsyth Barr collapsed, why CTV collapsed in a catastrophic way, and why the PGC building collapsed. We need to know that as we go forward towards the rebuilding process. So let's have the Royal Commission let's do it hopefully as swiftly as possible. But what we've really gotta do now in Christchurch is start to look forward, planning for that emergency housing. You know 10,000 people Corin have lost their homes. When are we going to start the emergency housing programme so that those people have secure accommodation while their homes can be rebuilt?

Corin: Do you think that this isn't happening quickly enough?

Phil: Oh look you know we're trying to work constructively with the government, but we are making the point that we really need you know three weeks on from this morning, from the earthquake, we need to look forward to what we're gonna do with the CBD, what we're going to do to give people houses to live in, while 10,000 families are without those houses, because their homes can no longer be lived in, and what we're going to do about skill training.

Corin: What are the options for housing because you can't put people in tents with winter coming, so what are the options for those families?

Phil: Well I think what we have to be looking at is temporary housing, probably relocatable, partly from around the country, we need to find the subdivisions and develop those subdivisions that are on safe land, but this is an interim measure. What the builders in Christchurch tell me is that those who have to move out of their homes while the land is remediated, will be out of their homes for at least a year, and it might be 18 months or two years before they can go back. They can't as you say, live in tents. What we have to do is create that temporary housing, and we can use that temporary housing as a way just to get the building industry going, because if it has to wait six months before building commences it's in even more trouble. We need to get those people into skill training so that the work that will take 10 years, 15 years to do, can be done by local Cantabrians.

Corin: Just very quickly Pike River, there's talk of Solid Energy making a bid for this, does that make sense?

Phil: Well I'd prefer a New Zealand and community owned coal mine over a foreign owned coal mine, because it has a commitment to New Zealand. Having said that of course the government's planning to privatise Solid Energy, so that benefit might not be as real as it seems.

Corin: Just finally, Hone Harawira, you are now saying, just get this clear, that Labour will not work with him post election, even if he's with some new left wing party?

Phil: Yeah, there's two criteria I've got for coalition partners, one is reliability, he fails on that count. Secondly is on consistency, there's so many things that Hone Harawira has said that are extremist, that I find totally incompatible with my beliefs, my values and those of the labour party. I don't think he's a partner.

Corin: But you're not ruling out Winston Peters, and of course he's said plenty of extremist stuff in the past?

Phil: Yeah he has said extremist stuff in the past, he's moderated over recent years, and I've made no decision about Winston Peters, but I would say this that in the last term of the last government he did abide by the conditions of that agreement and he did help achieve stable government. I don't think Hone Harawira is capable of either of those things.

Corin: Opposition Leader Phil Goff thanks very much for your time.


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