Smile and Wave | The Jackal

9 Oct 2011

Smile and Wave

John Key went to Tauranga today for yet another photo opportunity. He was talking tough while doing nothing to avert an escalation of what is already a major environmental disaster in the Bay of Plenty.

Since 5:30 AM this morning, the tanker ship Awanuia has been sitting about a kilometer away from the grounded MV Rena doing nothing, while the opportunity for pumping oil off the stricken ship ends with bad weather forecast for tomorrow.

It took two days before a decision was even made to unload the Awanuia at Marsdon Point and send it down to Tauranga.

After so many assurances by National MP's that New Zealand was prepared and could cope with a large oil spill, the only thing the authorities seem to be able to assure us about now, is that oil will start washing up on our beaches.

The diverse Bay of Plenty ecosystem supports Whales, Dolphins, Seals, Blue Penguins, Shearwaters, Gannets, Black Petrels and Pycroft Petrels, many of which are in the area for the breeding season.

The Petrels are already a threatened species and Corexit 9500, which has been sprayed onto the large oil spill in unknown quantities will have a devastating effect. Corexit 9500 is said to be four times as toxic as the oil itself.

Despite the serious nature of the disaster, there has been no press release from National's website. What is becoming very apparent, is that they've totally failed to react properly yet again to a major disaster, which will have huge environmental and financial consequences for New Zealand.

TVNZ reported today:
Prime Minister John Key is demanding answers about how a cargo ship hit a reef in the Bay of Plenty. Key arrived in Tauranga today as desperate efforts to prevent an environmental catastrophe from the Rena stranding continue. Key says he wants to know how the ship hit a reef that he says is well documented.

"Some serious questions need to be answered about why that happened and who is responsible," Key said. Key said it was "almost certain" some oil would make it to shore and 500 Defence Force personnel were ready to be mobilised for such an event.

"They'll have to take that [the oil] off literally by hand. We've been advised heavy equipment is not the best approach." Key said two inquiries had been launched into the incident. Key rejected criticism the response had been too slow and said everybody was doing what they can "as fast as they can".
John Key took five days before he even went to the scene of the disaster. That's 120 hours of inaction on the part of the Prime Minister. Now Key says he's demanding answers... somebody needs to ask him why he took a huge amount of time in showing any interest in the environmental disaster at all?

A proper functioning PM would be giving us answers by now, not grandstanding while ultimately doing nothing. John Key et al have completely failed to ensure that resources are available to protect our precious ecosystem, on which many animals and people's livelihoods rely.
Who knows what John Key was up to on Wednesday when the Rena ran aground and started to spill hydrolic oil into the sea... or on Thursday for that matter when the ship released a large amount of heavy oil, contaminating a huge section of the ocean.

Along with Hekia Parata, John Key has been conspicuous by their silent absence. So what has our "leader" really been up to?

On Friday John Key spoke at a Zespri kiwifruit conference where he hardly even mentioned the oil spill... and yesterday, John Key went to the Diwali festival in Aotea Square.

After his grandstanding today, Key then flew out of Tauranga to go to the rugby. Isn't that nice... the PM partying while New Zealand faces one of its biggest ecological disasters ever. And what about the regurgitated scripted rhetoric:
Key insists that the government is introducing legislation to ensure adequate environmental protections were in place if deep-sea drilling was undertaken.

"The Prime Minister would point out that there is no connection between deep sea drilling and a maritime accident of this nature. They are completely unrelated except that they both occur at sea," the spokeswoman said.

Key is to meet today with local officials and the accident will be discussed at tomorrow's cabinet meeting.
Earth to John Key's unnamed spokesperson... cleaning up oil out of the ocean from a ship is the same as cleaning up oil from a drilling rig. The deeper the ocean, the harder it gets. What is clear is that New Zealand doesn't have the capabilities to clean up even a relatively small oil spill from either a ship or an oil rig, showing that National's deep sea drilling plans are completely nuts!

Hekia Parata's lies about our response capabilities are bad enough already, but now we learn that it will be six days since the Rena grounding before National even meet to discuss the disaster. This type of delay is completely unacceptable!

On thursday the Transport minister Steven Joyce said "the situation was going to get worse before it gets better." Thanks to National's complete ineptitude, he's probably right.

John Key on Rena Disaster from Sun Live on Vimeo.