The ones to blame: Letters, 20 October

By Readers write

The Bay of Plenty Times welcomes letters and comments from readers. Here you can read the letters we have published in your newspaper today.

Shippers aren't ones to blame

It is so ironic that the word 'astrolabe' means 'an historic instrument used in navigation'

If I hire a taxi and the taxi driver accidentally knocks over a little old lady, am I liable for her hospital bills?

This what the politicians and the uneducated would have you believe. I refer to the blatant politicking of senior Government ministers regarding the MSC shipping company.

They keep harping on about how MSC should be paying for the cleanup, subsequent to the wreck of the Rena. MSC is in exactly the same situation as I would be in a taxi that knocked over the little old lady. Innocent.

But concerned for her welfare, obviously.Roy EdwardsTaurangaToo few tuiRe letter about tui (Bay of Plenty Times Weekend, Oct 15). The writer lived in Te Puke.

I live in Omokoroa and there are three good (and recently golden) kowhai trees close to our kitchen window.

We have recently seen an occasional tui, and once or twice in a day, two tui darting between the trees.

Last year there were often a dozen birds, and one time 16 all at once. I did wonder if it was a new resident magpie keeping them away but I doubt it.

Recently, visiting at Te Puna where there were some large cherry trees in flower, we saw perhaps four tui at once, darting and diving. Definitely fewer around this year.

F R Bernard, Omokoroa Beach

Armchairs ahoy

As I write this, the Rena is still afloat, a dead ship that will not lie down, and the opinions of so many armchair sailors continue to fill the newspapers and airwaves.

It is so ironic that the word "astrolabe" means "an historic instrument used in navigation" - perhaps that same ancient instrument could have assisted the captain two weeks ago.

My humble take on the whole sorry saga is that, amazing as it is that a modern ship was unable to miss a reef that was charted centuries ago, those in charge are doing the very best they can - hey, after all, Teflon John is facing an election in a few short weeks and Labour is in chest-thumping mode with a rare opportunity to howl down the efforts of all concerned. No one wants a worse outcome than that which is already threatening us.

Perhaps the afore-mentioned critics could just leave this crisis to those who are doing their best to avert any more damage to our beautiful coastline.

Meanwhile let's hope that, on Sunday night, the All Blacks bring home the bacon and the country will collectively celebrate.

Robin Bishop, Pyes Pa

Sea's ties missed

Mark Cairns' dismissive refutation (News, October 12) of responsibility for the mitigation of the catastrophic ecologic effects of the Rena wreck by pointing to statutory responsibility limited to three miles from port is disingenuous and lowers both his mana and the Port of Tauranga's.

Correctly naming (Tauranga moana) his company might have helped him "get" the essential cultural and spiritual significance of the sea to the people here.

He admits to disappointment at the loss of recreational fishing the following day on National radio, but is that all?

Part of his company's profits are from this flag-of-convenience vessel which has a history of recent repeated safety defects sufficient to have it detained in Fremantle and - more worryingly - en route to the Astrolabe Reef the Rena is accused of breach of sea rules off Napier during overtaking. Responsibility for the detection and sanction of breaches of safety at sea no doubt again falls with Maritime New Zealand.

Mr Cairns, a good corporate citizen, distinguishes blame from shared responsibility and conveys, by words and deeds, a wider sense of concern for our community and environment than "just" keeping the sea lanes clear and the port operational.

Kia kaha to those performing these and other hazardous tasks.


Paul Wilson, Oropi

Second reef issue

History has repeated itself. In the 1950s, the Golden Master, a large cargo ship, struck the Astrolabe Reef and was subsequently moved to, and beached at, Matakana Island to prevent its sinking and allow for temporary repairs to be made. Lessons should have been learned and warning measures put in place long before now. The potential damage to the environment this latest event presents is catastrophic. With modern charts and GPS such an event should be impossible to occur.

This will lead to a massive waste of resources to counteract ensuing problems, with the main concern, from the public's point of view, being oil pollution and its disastrous effects on the environment.

Barry H Walker, Mount Maunganui

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