PM responsible for every drop
There was no emergency response. At 2:20am last Wednesday the Rena struck the reef and the following day Maritime NZ assured the public that a response was underway. That was a lie. They had no response, they pissed around - just as they did with the Jodi F Millenium incident in Gisborne when they let the oil wash up on the beaches of Gisborne. The only one with any push to take it seriously and do something is the PM. And he has done zip.
Every drop of oil - as I have said in an earlier post - is his responsibility. The old trick that Helen Clark used to use of blaming the incident itself and how it occurred doesn't wash - it is the response to it that counts. There has been almost no response. Any oil hitting the shore is a failure and it is the government's failure. All we have had are excuses. Our clean green image is going to be tarnished in a film of dirty oil.
Environment Minister Nick Smith this afternoon said oil had poured out of a new puncture in the Rena at "fivefold" the rate it had in the days after the ship grounded on Astrolabe Reef.
He said significant amounts of oil would start washing up on beaches around Mt Maunganui from tomorrow and into the coming weeks.
The "tragic" spill was inevitable since the Rena grounded carrying 1700 tonnes of oil at 2:20am last Wednesday, he said.
He promised the Government would hold those who were responsible for the grounding to account.
It may be news to Nick Smith, but it is the government that is responsible. Just leaving it to private sector salvage firms was not something a responsible government would do. The grounding is one issue, but it is the response that the National government will be held to account over - it has been non-existent.
And it was all preventable and we all saw it coming. The weather at the time was fine, the weather for the next three days was calm - and what was the response - they would be do 'training' instead of actually going out there and doing something to contain it. Now the weather has turned bad and the Rena has issued a mayday call.
The crew on the stranded cargo ship Rena would have been fearing for their lives when the vessel tipped by about 4 degrees overnight, the union representing New Zealand maritime workers says.
The 17, mostly Filipino, crew members issued a mayday call when the ship crushed the reef it was resting on and shifted back a few degrees from its 10-degree list.
A Maritime New Zealand spokeswoman said the crew issued the mayday call as a "standard precautionary measure''.
"They do the mayday call as that is the way to get them off quickly,'' she said.
Maritime Union general secretary Joe Fleetwood did not accept this and said the crew would have been fearing for their lives.
"It wouldn't have bee a precautionary thing. As soon as you hit that button you're in distress. They probably feared for their safety, thinking this vessel's going to snap in half or roll over and kill everyone on board."
This is a disaster - a National disaster.