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Nick Smith

26 January, 2012

Environmental Recovery plan for Rena launched

Environment Minister Nick Smith today launched the environmental recovery plan, to address the long term effects of the Rena disaster on the wider Bay of Plenty region.

“This plan is needed to bring together a wide range of central, regional and local government organisations as well as iwi to ensure the long-term clean-up job is well coordinated,” Dr Smith says.

“The grounding of the Rena was New Zealand’s worst maritime environmental disaster. This plan has been developed to co-ordinate the long-term recovery and restoration of the Bay of Plenty environment. Our goal is to restore the Bay of Plenty environment to as close as is possible to it’s pre-Rena state,” said Dr Smith.

Following the ship’s grounding on 5 October, the appointed salvors have prevented further significant oil spills and removed some containers from the vessel. This and the work of Maritime New Zealand, iwi, community volunteers, New Zealand Defence Force, DoC and the Wildlife Recovery Team, have provided an effective emergency response.

“This plan identifies the environmental issues for the beaches, seabed, water, fisheries, wildlife and management of waste and sets out who is responsible for the recovery and monitoring of each. A governance group has been established to oversee the implementation of the plan and to make sure everything possible can be done to restore the environment,” Dr Smith says.

Dr Smith also announced that Catherine Taylor, formerly Maritime New Zealand’s Chief Executive has been appointed as the Rena Recovery Manager.

“We are very fortunate to get someone who has been so intimately involved in the everyday response to the Rena grounding to lead the coordination and implementation of the long term recovery plan. Ms Taylor’s appointment will mean a seamless transition from incident management to recovery implementation.

“Disasters can bring out the best in people and so, it has been here. I want to acknowledge the contributions of iwi and Councils to this plan and commit to working with them to restore the Bay of Plenty environment,” says Dr Smith.
 

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