6 May 2015

New Rena claim for urgency to be filed

8:13 pm on 6 May 2015

Motiti Island sub-tribe, Ngai Te Hapu, plans to file a new Waitangi Tribunal claim for urgency because Crown assistance over the Rena presents a perceived conflict of interest.

Recovery of Rena wreckage off the Tauranga coast.

Recovery of Rena wreckage off the Tauranga coast. Photo: RENA PROJECT

The move comes after the release of the Waitangi Tribunal's final report on the Rena, which found that the vessel's owners were given special treatment by the Crown.

The container ship ran aground on the Astrolabe Reef in 2011, causing hundreds of tonnes of fuel oil to spill into the sea, off the coast of Tauranga.

The Tribunal said two Bay of Plenty claims concerning the removal of the wreck from Astrolabe Reef were well-founded.

It focussed on the Crown's conduct in entering into an agreement in October 2012 obliging it to support the ship's owners' resource consent application to leave the remains where they are.

The Tribunal found the Crown's actions impinged on the rights affecting tangata whenua.

Ngai Te Hapu spokesperson Buddy Mikaere said it was good the report clearly identified the Crown had made mistakes.

He said now it had the report, it hoped to go back to the Tribunal.

Mr Mikaere said the Crown had been helpful, and had indicated it would make its experts such as salvors available to the hapū for a Commissioner hearing because it did not have the resources to bring in its own.

But, he questioned how a lawyer would be able to provide independent advice to all parties.

Buddy Mikaere said it wanted the Tribunal to look into the matter and planned to file a new bid with the Tribunal today.

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