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Tuesday, October 11

Better communication needed in Tauranga

The Green Party is calling on the Government to have better engagement with locals concerned about the Rena cargo ship, grounded on a reef near Tauranga Harbour.

"The Government can call an urgent Town Hall meeting so the public can find out the latest and have an opportunity to question those involved in the salvage and clean-up," said Green Party marine spokesperson Gareth Hughes.
"It is great that Maritime New Zealand is hosting their press conferences on YouTube, but locals need a chance to ask questions too.

"Locals are deeply worried about the future of their waters and coast and would like a chance to communicate and engage with those working on solutions.

"The lack of communication further highlights gaps in our preparedness for dealing with major oil spills," said Mr Hughes.
The Government has begun to hold meetings with experts, but has not yet held community engagement meetings.

"Many locals have concerns about why the response appears slow and want to know what unnamed chemicals are in the containers on the ship - fears that can be allayed if the Government engages with the community," said Mr Hughes.

"The Government must adopt a transparent communication strategy. Many locals fear they are receiving PR spin that the Government has everything under control, a fear the Government can allay with direct two-way communication."