RENA CONSENT HEARING..

Rena

An expert witness on the application to leave the Rena on Astrolabe Reef has “very serious concerns” about the extent of consultation among Maori carried out by the Astrolabe Community Trust.

Crown witness Dr Grant Young highlighted the cultural dilemma faced by the commission tasked with hearing the resource consent application lodged by the trust.

Dr Young said a key cultural value was the mauri or physical and spiritual life force of the reef. Iwi, hapu and other kinship groups were responsible for preserving and protecting the taonga (treasure) of the reef. He questioned whether the applicant had consulted widely enough before lodging its proposal to leave the remains of the Rena on the reef.

New round of talks ordered

A new round of negotiations has been ordered by the commission hearing an application to leave the wreck of the Rena on Astrolabe Reef. Chairman Judge Gordon Whiting said he was about to issue a memorandum for the parties to the application to “caucus”.

One of the questions was should clear conditions be set out in matters of consent. His comment came during evidence at yesterday’s hearing by expert Crown witness Mark Ashby.

Mr Ashby argued that consent conditions needed to be beyond legal challenge. He said the applicant sought to limit the application to contaminants still within the wreck.

“In doing so, it seeks to exclude any ongoing discharge from contaminants not within or on the wreck, but which were released during the grounding or in the aftermath as Rena broke up.”

He said the applicant considered the contaminants were part of the existing environment, and so were only relevant as a baseline to measure additional effects.

Mr Ashby supported removing the Rena’s bow sections in order to limit future damage to the reef and its ecosystems.

DIGITAL TRANSCRIPTS MAY BE HEARD ON THE FOLLOWING WEBSITE http://www.renaresourceconsent.org.nz/mv-rena-hearing-day-8-digital-transcript-annotations-16-september-2015/