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Motiti Island residents need support

Labour Leader

21 October 2011 MEDIA STATEMENT
Motiti Island residents need support

The people of Motiti Island say they are still not getting the support they need from the Government as they struggle to cope with the environmental damage caused by the Rena, more than a fortnight after it ran aground, says Labour Leader Phil Goff.

Mr Goff viewed the damage to the shoreline first-hand when he visited the island today.

"There are containers washed up with their contents spewing out onto the beach. I saw timber strewn across the rocks and bags of debris including animal hides, burger patties and what looks like rotten milk powder sitting in plastic bags waiting to be taken away.

"The residents are mucking in and working round the clock to collect the rubbish. But they need more help from the Government getting it off the island.

"They are distraught about what is happening to their land. They've been guardians of the island for generations and they feel helpless because they're not getting the support they need to protect their precious environment from further harm.

"They're angry that there was no action taken to get to oil off the wreck in the first few days when the weather was calm.

"They wanted more help transporting volunteers to the island to clean up. They also wanted the option of using sphagnum moss as an absorbent material to clean up oil and answers from the Government on how they are going to survive when their main food source is polluted.

"The sea is the supermarket for Motiti islanders. They rely on the kai moana to feed their people. They want answers about how long they'll have to wait before they can fish and gather shellfish again.

"I have asked the Government and Maritime NZ for answers to their questions. That's the least they deserve,” Phil Goff said.

"Like many Kiwis, they want to know why they're paying the price for this disaster, why National did not have a rapid response plan to deal with it and why it didn't pass legislation that would have boosted our liability cover.

"New Zealand taxpayers should not be picking up the bill for National's incompetence,” Phil Goff said.


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