Richard Moore: So will we ever rest insured again

If you are in the market for insurance, my suggestion would be to look at what is going on in Christchurch and make your decision based on how the various insurers are acting down there.

For from what I read, many people who have paid over good money believing they are protected in the event of losing their homes are being mucked around on a daily basis.

It was so bad that Gerry Brownlee, Earthquake Recovery Minister and next ambassador to Finland, shoved a rocket up them saying insurers were dragging their feet.

Labour agreed, with spokeswoman Lianne Dalziel saying: "Cantabrians are finding themselves pitted against large multinationals intent on minimising their exposure and maximising their profits."<inline type="recurring-inline" id="1003" align="outside" enforce-sites="no" />

One of the worst offenders has a very catchy TV ad but it, and two of its related insurance entities, rated the three least-praised firms to do business with.

In our part of the world, we have a very large ship still waiting to dock in Port of Tauranga.

The chances of the Rena doing so are pretty slight, but that may well be more likely than the insurers accepting their responsibility in full.

The Swedish Club, together with the owners Costamare, are thinking that most of the Rena could be left in the sea.

They will no doubt have the best interests of the Bay of Plenty environment and people at heart when they suggest this.

Now I think the insurers and the owners may have misinterpreted Maritime NZ's order to them - which was to remove the Rena from our waters. That is full wreck removal, down to the last bolt.

But to muddy the seas a bit, the Swedish Club and Costamare are trying to extricate themselves from the $13 million a month removal with a few ploys. They involve a smoke-and-mirrors game diverting public attention by playing on the environment, culture, safety, recreation, tourism and community health aspects.

One suggestion is that removing the whole wreck could take a decade and cause massive damage to the reef. Or was that massive damage to the insurer's bank balance?

Another was the argument that the wreck, which sits at depth of between six metres and 60 metres, would be a divers' paradise that could boost tourism.

As a former diver and someone interested in boosting Bay tourism, I can see there may be merit in that. However, I would want an independent group to study the option and give us the pros and cons before making my mind up. After all, there is a lot of paint, oil and chemicals in, on and covering that vessel, a lot of which will in time come into shore.

We've also been told that sealife is now abundant around the sunken portion of the Rena and that the reef's environment is back to where it was before its most unwelcome visitor steamed into it.

All I can say to that is that, on my daily walks down Papamoa Beach, I see scores of little balls of oil per linear metre along the tide line. They don't suggest a return to pristine ocean to me.

No matter what those with vested interests say, I believe my eyes. Methinks insurance men speak with forked tongue.

I LOVE it when this column gets people talking about an issue, because it is only through open debate can we stem the tide of the self-appointed few hijacking society's political and moral directions. My column on gay marriage certainly got a few people's hackles up but - so be it - the issue is important and we need all sides to throw in their points of view.

But please, we do need to keep it sensible.

Unlike one letter last week in which the writer stated that a gay or lesbian relationship is a dead end. "It is simply a carnal love for its own sake."

They went on: "We were all created out of an act of love and the greatest thing we can do is procreate."

Umm, I'm pretty sure a number of people were not born out of an act of love, although you could call it that if it makes you feel better.

Paint it how you will, I think many were conceived after a few drinks, an open fire, or a warm blanket in the back seat of the car, and a natural desire to bonk.

If we had a straw poll of those who have children we'd find that a huge number would say it was an accident - not some divine act that brought sanctity to marriage.

- Bay of Plenty Times

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