1 Mar 2012

Niue to renew call for New Zealand to take back asbestos waste

8:13 pm on 1 March 2012

A former MP in Niue, who opposes government plans to bury asbestos waste on the island, says most of the islanders want the material shipped back to New Zealand.

Niue's Environment Department has been assuring the public the material, wrapped in polyethylene, and possibly inside a concrete lined bunker, would pose no threat to the island's water lens.

But Matua Robert Rex says a public meeting today led to calls for the government to again approach New Zealand and ask it to take the material back.

"The only alternative is dumping it out at sea and we don't have the means to do that - it will cost a lot of money and of course we have to respect the convention we have with New Zealand about all these things. The only alternative that Cabinet has is to bury it here, although much to our concern, at the end of the day if Government says that, I mean, that is the way it goes. We don't have any say after all."

Matua Robert Rex says the public concern could have been lessened by a better effort on the Government's part to communicate with the people.