10 Aug 2014

Most oppose leaving Rena on reef

8:54 am on 10 August 2014

Most submissions on the wreck of the Rena are opposed to leaving it on the reef off the Tauranga coast where the container ship ran aground nearly three years ago.

The Rena in April 2013

The Rena in April 2013 Photo: RNZ

The Rena ran aground in 2011, creating one of New Zealand's worst maritime and environmental disasters.

A community trust, formed by the owners of the ship, has applied to the Bay of Plenty regional council for a resource consent to leave behind what's left of the Rena on the reef.

Submissions closed at 5pm on Friday. The council has now published 142 submissions from the public online.

One submitter said she's opposed to leaving the wreck on the Astrolabe Reef because she said it's not OK to have wrecks littered around the coast.

Another said New Zealand is not to be used as a dumping ground for old ships and their toxic waste.

But one local, who's a dive instructor, believes leaving the wreck where it is is the right decision.

He said it is a huge attraction for divers in this country, as well as internationally, due to the wide news coverage.

Ngai Te Hapu is opposed based on cultural and environmental reasons.

One who approves leaving the wreck said more damage to the ecosystem could occur if the wreck is fully removed.

Mount Maunganui Underwater Club supports leaving the wreck on the reef as it will not only enhance sea life, but stop more damage to the reef through salvage operations.

The Medical Officer of Health in the region said there appears to be no threats to health from what remains.

Tourism Bay of Plenty is neutral on the applications, but said there are implications to the region's tourism industry if the wreck is abandoned.

Papamoa Beach Holiday Resort is opposed, and said there could be long term consequences, such as if a huge storm moves debris onto the beach.

The Crown, with signatures from Christopher Finlayson, Nick Smith and Amy Adams, oppose the applications in part.

The Tauranga City Council is neutral, as is the Western Bay of Plenty District Council.

Mataatua District Council, in its capacity representing Motiti Island is opposed, and the Motiti Rohe Moana Trust has made lengthy submissions in opposition.