Monday, October 10, 2011

Where is the government?

Blog-life balance means I take weekends off, but over the weekend I couldn't help but notice the growing disquiet over the government's lack of response to the Rena grounding. The government seems to have been in no particular hurry to respond, despite warnings the ship could leak further or even break up, delaying sending a tanker to offload the ship's oil until yesterday. And now, oil is washing up on Mt Maunganui's beaches, and it is being left to local residents to clean it up:

Tauranga resident Dave Lynn said he was walking his dog north up the beach when he found the oil near Tay Street.

The beach north from there was coated, he said.

He had also found three dead birds on the beach.

"You can see the oil everywhere, the moment you touch it, it's sticky and yuck - it looks like big black rocks," he said.

Lynn had been picking up clumps with plastic bags, then throwing it in the rubbish.

He was frustrated that no official response was evident.

"I'm not happy. Something should have happened already," he said.

And he's right. Disasters like this are why we have an army. But they're still sitting around, twiddling their thumbs, waiting for the Minister to make a decision. Its appalling management of a disaster which could have a significant effect on one of New Zealand's favourite holiday spots - and our environmental reputation. And it speaks volumes about the priority National attaches to the environment.