Published in an abridged form in the Weekend Herald 15 October ,2011
Maritime New Zealand’s management of this event has been appalling. Part of the issue is that they are now money managers as opposed to maritime experts. The paltry fines and penalty for wrong doing are a disgrace as is the failure to take up Mr Winstone’s offer of two barges which may have prevented beaches and fisheries being polluted and the awful deaths of sea animals and birds.
They could have arranged for Wellington’s floating crane, the Hikitia to get to Tauranga which is capable of lifting the empty containers off.
Instead they waited days before making any move to contain the imminent disaster or to communicate with the public .
For the Prime-minster to say it has been handled well, is just wrong.He should have declared a state of emergency and Minster Joyce should have flown to Tauronga and called a public meeting. A committee including mayors , iwi, unions, churches, business leaders and others to coordinate the response could have been formed. He could have found out what resources and marine know how were available locally and things would have turned out better. At least Nero fiddled while Rome burnt.Our Government leadership did nothing
The public are in wonderment about why the tax payers should pick up the tab for any of the cost.
Fishermen are concerned about when they will make a living again as are tourist operators. Some will go broke losing a lifetimes investment .Locals have no idea when they will swim or enjoy their beaches. Exporters whose product is now lost many of them will be worried about their markets and some of them may lose contracts and have penalties imposed .
Perhaps they the hapless crew is guilty of negligence . Are not the shipping company and owners also guilty?