Rena split


Just over three months after the MV Rena hit the Astrolabe Reef the ship has split in two.

In the immediate aftermath of the grounding the government and Maritime New Zealand were criticised for not acting faster.

But after three months of difficult and often dangerous work by the salvors there are still containers on board.

It would have been difficult if not impossible for them to have done anything more and done it any faster.

Chch earthquake aid policy helping Tauranga


One of the unheralded acts by the government in the wake of last September’s earthquake was providing money to enable businesses to keep operating in the immediate aftermath.

The same thing was done after the February quake and it was instrumental in protecting jobs and reducing the number of businesses which collapsed.

It has provided a template which has been used in Tauranga after the oil spill from the Rena:

One thing that resonated with business owners in Mount Maunganui was the response from the Government in helping pay      wages. While there were still some who wanted more government handouts, most were strongly supportive of National’s actions. 

Not all contributions from politicians has been appreciated, however:

The Green Party and Labour leader Phil Goff have done themselves no favours in Mt Maunganui.   

Local retailers complained to Taking the Pulse on Saturday that both the Greens and Mr Goff keep drawing attention to  the stricken Rena which hit the Astrolabe Reef on  October 5, spilling oil. . .

Publicity from the oil spill also hurt visitor numbers; people likened it to the Gulf of Mexico spill, which wrecked both tourism and fisheries along the coast of Louisiana.   

The damage caused by the negative publicity during the election campaign is starting to worry a few. . .

But the main political issue that annoyed nearly everyone spoken to in about two hours was grandstanding – both in Mt  Maunganui and Epsom. Voters were absolutely over the side issues and complained it reminded them of when New Zealand First leader Winston Peters was in full flight. Then, they remembered that Mr Peters was again in full flight.   

There was no love lost on the Mount for Mr Peters. No particular reason could be nailed down, but the dislike was palpable.  

 Obviously people of good sense and discernment.

Making the news


How much is a thousand?

It all depends and when we’re told 1,000 birds have died as a result of the oil spill from the MV Rena, it sounds like a very big number.

But a farmer I met at a party last night, put it into perspective:

“A thousand dead birds, what’s the fuss? There’d be at least that many ducks killed in Central Otago on opening morning, he said.”

Kiwiblog has some more numbers to add to that perspective.

Any oil spilled in the ocean is bad as are any wildlife deaths as a result of it, especially as the deaths wouldn’t be fast or painless. But the way they’re reported makes it sound far worse than it is.

Apropos of reporting, the media which has criticised Maritime New Zealand for its response and communications, are getting in the way of the salvage operation:

There are currently four vessels with media on board breaching the maritime exclusion zone. They are close to the Rena and they are disrupting salvage operations.

Air operations cannot be undertaken while these vessels are in the area and have ceased while this is resolved. This is because we cannot risk lifting or dropping off heavy equipment while these vessels are nearby.

We are at a critical stage of the salvage operation and these vessels need to leave the area immediately.

They have broken two of the basic rules I was taught at journalism school: ensure your story gives perspective and you’re supposed to be reporting the news, not making it.

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