I cannot begin to comprehend the magnitude of the White Island tragedy and feel genuine sympathy for all those involved in any aspect of this disaster.
Like so many, I have a fascination with volcanoes and we are fortunate to have several accessible active ones on our doorstep.
Part of the excitement is the fear factor of their unpredictability and I am sure that is a drawcard for many.
On a visit to Vanuatu, we went to the island of Tanna specifically to climb Mt Yasur, walk around its crater full of boiling lava and watch this explode into the air right before our eyes.
We knew that two people had been killed by exploding molten lava the previous year, but that didn't deter us.
Yes, we signed a waiver and we knew the risks but decided, like many before us, that the thrill made those risks worthwhile.
People across the world have enjoyed the excitement of a volcano visit and unfortunately, some have been injured or killed. That is the risk, just like the risk involved in any adventure activity.
All precautions are taken but accidents as a result of nature being nature are inevitable and always tragic.
I would hate anyone to be held criminally responsible for this tragedy of unpredictable nature.
I would also hate this disaster to deter others from enjoying the thrill of experiencing active volcanoes close up. (Abridged)
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Medical care for the living
Another tragedy on White Island and St John is finding it hard to operate due to lack of funding to save the living.
Some years ago we had another tragedy at Pike River mine and here we have millions of dollars to get out the bodies to make it nice for the families concerned.
Why is there no common sense and spend on medical for the living?
I believe this is only grandstanding by this Government.
Last week we had 13 killed on our roads and up to about 400 per year on our roads.
If that many were on an airplane they would be closed down. (Abridged)
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