John Key avoids taking stance on Rena

By Rebecca Savory

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Prime Minister John Key has refused to take a position on the removal of the Rena wreck this afternoon.

Mr Key spoke in a press conference at 3pm in Bethlehem and said he would not take a position on the debate but encouraged people to make submissions on the matter.

"My view is that the Regional Council and the Environment Court need to make those decisions," he said.

"It wouldn't be overly helpful if I jumped in, in the middle of a process that's ongoing.

"The most important thing is that people do put in their submissions. I'm sure both the regional council, and ultimately if it goes off to the Environment Court, will very carefully consider those decisions or those submissions."

When challenged by the Bay of Plenty Times whether the Government would take a stance, Mr Key said the decision did not lie with the Government but instead with local authorities.

"In the end the appropriate place for that decision to be made is actually by local people and representatives, they are the Regional Council, and if people don't agree with the decision the Regional Council makes then ultimately the Environment Court is the place to test that.

Despite sympathising with local businesses, Mr Key also put the issue of compensation for local businesses on other authorities.

"Ultimately these things are never easy. It's a great tragedy in terms of the Rena and the impact it had for some of those businesses...

"It's really a matter for the insurers of the Rena and the individual companies."

"In reality the Rena is an issue that had a substantial impact on the area at the time but I would have thought for the most part people have moved on from that."

- Bay of Plenty Times

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