Parliament

Gordon Campbell | Parliament TV | Parliament Today | Video | Questions Of the Day | Search

 

Lee satisfied with Ruapehu lahar risk response

18 December 2001 Media Statement
Lee satisfied with Ruapehu lahar risk response management


Conservation Minister Sandra Lee has completed a review of the management decisions taken to date to minimise the risks to safety associated with the impending Ruapehu Crater Lake lahar.

The Minister has announced today she is satisfied that the installation of a state of the art alarm and warning system, and the construction of a stopbank alongside the Whangaehu River are sufficient to address risks to public safety from an expected lahar.

Ms Lee said that in addition to the installation of an alarm and warning systems and the construction of a stopbank, the Department of Conservation was working closely with the Police and the Ministry of Civil Defence and Emergency Management to develop an appropriate emergency response plan.

As well, the Ministry is helping organisations with assets in the predicted lahar path to review their individual civil defence response plans.

As part of the review, Ms Lee had considered proposals to undertake engineering work at the Ruapehu Crater Lake to reduce the impact of a lahar. The Minister has decided against undertaking this action.

She said engineering works had been suggested by some local authorities but were opposed by environmental and recreational groups, the Tongariro/Taupo Conservation Board, the New Zealand Conservation Authority and by local iwi.

“The Government has also agreed to favourably consider any application for recovery assistance for the reinstatement of any damaged infrastructure made by the Ruapehu District Council in the event of the worst case, or near worst case, lahar event," Ms Lee said

“On balance I am satisfied, that the potential risk to staff working on the creation of a partial trench at the Crater rim is greater and cannot be mitigated or managed while the risk to the public using the park or at risk infrastructure without engineering at the Crater rim can.
"Intervention will create some significant risks for the workers at the crater rim. These risks are at least as high as any residual risks downstream.

"These factors, taken together with public concerns about the impact on national park values that would occur by bulldozing into the summit of the mountain, have convinced me that the recommended measures are the most appropriate response to the lahar threat. Accordingly I have decided against the proposal to undertake engineering work at the crater rim”, Ms Lee said.

Ms Lee said lahars were a well-known hazard on Ruapehu. The combination of a large volume of water poised high above the surrounding terrain on top of an active volcano constitutes a potentially hazardous situation should the volcano erupt or crater rim fail.

Over 60 lahars have been recorded in the Whangaehu valley since the 1860s, the latest occurring during the 1996 eruption. Lahars can be triggered by a number of causes with the most common cause being eruptions.

Ms Lee said the issue was complex and that her decision against asking the Department of Conservation to undertake engineering work at the crater rim followed a lengthy period of consultation with technical experts, the community and other stakeholders.

“The significant amount of information gathered has been subject to independent peer review and I have also had input from other Government Ministers with portfolios that would be affected by a lahar.

“This information and advice, and my subsequent decision, is based on the worst case scenario of a sudden collapse of the crater rim when the lake has filled to the top of the dam. The lake is predicted to fill between late 2002 and 2005.”

“In addition, an engineering intervention at the Crater Lake would be inconsistent with the provisions of the National Parks Act, the Tongariro National Park Management Plan and the World Heritage Convention.

"This area is of outstanding international significance for its natural values. Given the high natural values of the crater and the intense interest in the area," she said, "intervention would have been highly controversial and there would have been considerable uncertainty as to whether the required consents could have been obtained."

ENDS

© Scoop Media

 
 
 
Parliament Headlines | Politics Headlines | Regional Headlines

Gordon Campbell: On Why New Zealand Needs To Change Its Defence Habits


In a flashback to the military displays of days gone by, one of our frigates recently joined a Carrier Strike show of force in the South China Sea, en route to a joint military exercise in Singapore with our traditional allies, called BersamaGold21. Reportedly, Anna Powles, from the Centre of Defence and Security Studies at Massey University felt this to be a case of us doing our bit to uphold international law, and the right of free transit through the region in question... More>>

Government: New COVID-19 Protection Framework Delivers Greater Freedoms For Vaccinated New Zealanders


Vaccinated New Zealanders will regain everyday freedoms when the country moves to a new simplified COVID-19 Protection Framework that doesn’t rely on nationwide lockdowns as the main measure to stop the virus spreading. In a suite of announcements that establish a pathway out of restrictions the Government is also providing up to $940 million per fortnight to support businesses through the challenging period... More>>

ALSO:





 
 


Government: Responds To Independent Review Into WorkSafe

The Government has clear expectations that WorkSafe must action the recommendations of the independent review into the regulator to improve its management of adventure activities following the tragedy at Whakaari White Island, Workplace Relations and Safety Minister Michael Wood says... More>>

Government: New Zealand Secures Historic Free Trade Deal With The United Kingdom
New Zealand and the United Kingdom have agreed in principle the details of a historic Free Trade Agreement (FTA), which will further accelerate our COVID-19 economic recovery say Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern and Minister for Trade and Export Growth Damien O’Connor... More>>

ALSO:

Ombudsman: Launches Investigation Into MIQ Booking System
The Chief Ombudsman Peter Boshier is launching a broad investigation into the Managed Isolation and Quarantine (MIQ) booking system after receiving hundreds of complaints... More>>

ALSO:


Pay Cheque To Pay Cheque: Half A Million New Zealanders Have No Savings
New findings from the Consumer NZ sentiment tracker found that 15% of New Zealanders had no savings, and a further 27% were anxious about their level of savings and would like to have more tucked away... More>>


Government: Mandatory Vaccination For Two Workforces

Large parts of two workforces critical to preventing the spread of COVID-19 will be required to be vaccinated, COVID-19 Response Minister Chris Hipkins said today. “Our education and health and disability workforces have done an incredible job throughout this pandemic to keep themselves and people safe,” Chris Hipkins said.... More>>


Green Party: Deeply Concerned Space Launches May Be Breaching Nuclear-free Laws

The Green Party is deeply concerned that space launches by Rocket Lab may be breaching nuclear-free laws, given our long-standing position as a signatory of the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty... More>>


 
 
 
 
 
 

LATEST HEADLINES

  • PARLIAMENT
  • POLITICS
  • REGIONAL
 
 

InfoPages News Channels