Editorial: Rena info needed

By Dylan Thorne

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If the owners and insurers of the Rena have kept Tauranga City Council in the dark then it shows a lack of insight into the impact the disaster has had on this region.

It fails to acknowledge the harmful effects the hazardous chemicals that spilled from the Rena - oil, chemicals, materials stowed away in containers - had on our marine environment and the interest citizens have in ongoing efforts to remove the bow section.

This week Tauranga mayor Stuart Crosby spoke out, saying the city council had been excluded from negotiations and discussions about the Rena and was not getting enough information.

Rena is the most significant issue facing the council and the region. Thousands of tonnes of rubbish had the potential to be dispersed in the Bay. More than 300 containers are still in the submerged stern section, including aluminium ingots and several containers full of plastic beads used in manufacturing.

Rena insurer, The Swedish Club, says it was more than happy to engage directly with the council to ensure it was well briefed. The fact is it should not have to be asked for this information.

There is still a huge environmental hazard just out from our coastline and the onus is on the owners and insurers to provide detailed information on what is happening.

The council is not alone in raising this issue.

Last month a lawyer representing iwi says Rena's owner and insurers are not disclosing the full details of assessments on the potential environmental impact associated with leaving the wreck on the reef.

Director of North South Environment Law Robert Makgill said information received by iwi from assessments carried out by the Swedish Club was scarce and full of gaps.

The region cannot make a decision on the future of the wreck if it is kept in the dark.

In a previous column, I spoke in support of a proposal to leave the stern section of the Rena on the reef as a dive attraction.

But the lack of information that is coming forward from those responsible for the wreck leaves me with grave fears for future pollution if left on the reef.

For that reason I now believe every last scrap of the mouldering wreck should be removed.

- BAY OF PLENTY TIMES

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