July 18, 2014
Rena consultation inadequate
The Waitangi Tribunal says claimants living on or associated with Motiti Island will bear the brunt of what are likely to be significant adverse cultural and environmental effects if the wreck of the Rena is allowed to remain on Otaiti-Astrolabe Reef.
In an interim report released today, the tribunal found that the Crown’s conduct in response to the grounding of the cargo ship on October 2011 breached the principles of the Treaty of Waitangi.
The tribunal gave the claim urgency because the Rena’s owners want a resource consent to leave what remains of the wreck on Otaiti reef.
The report looks at the Crown’s consultation with Maori after it signed three deeds with the Rena owners settling claims against the owners for $27.6 million.
The deeds oblige the Crown to consider supporting the resource consent application.
If it then succeeds, the Crown will be paid an additional $10.4 million.
The Tribunal says the Crown’s subsequent consultation with iwi about the resource consent application was a sham.
Maori weren’t given the information they needed to participate usefully, and the Crown was left with an inadequate view of what Maori thought.
The tribunal wants the Crown to tell the respource consent authority that the reef is a taonga and its protection is a matter of national importance under the Resource Management Act.
It also recommends the Crown make extra funding available for Maori to make submissions on the consent.
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