Rena response inquiry should now start

Press Release – Environmental Defence Society
The Environmental Defence Society has called for a start to the promised inquiry into the response to the Rena disaster.

“Now that the Court proceedings are largely complete, it is time to set up the independent inquiry promised by the government,” said EDS Chairman Gary Taylor.

“We need to have a good close look at the response to the disaster and see if there are lessons to be learned.

“We now know what caused the grounding of the Rena and it’s time to see if the response from the responsible agencies was adequate, not for the purpose of any kind of witch-hunt, but to establish whether New Zealand was well-enough prepared for what was actually quite a small oil spill.

“We need to have a close look at whether the delays in the initial response were justified and whether the scale of the oil spill could have been reduced by prompter action.

“We also need to establish whether we have adequate resources available in this country, what resources are most appropriately brought in from overseas and whether New Zealand could cope with another oil spill, whether from a ship or from an oil well.

“Our concerns are to ensure New Zealand has rapid, state-of-the-art response capability in the event of a future oil spill.

“Given the government’s desire to encourage more deep sea oil exploration, it is very timely to take a careful look at how well prepared we are if an even bigger environmental disaster occurred in our water.

“EDS has suggested terms of reference for an inquiry and the Prime Minister has promised that there will be one. The time is now right to get on with the job,” Mr Taylor concluded.