Bridges scoffs at Rena pledge

National MP Simon Bridges has described Labour's announcement that it will demand full removal of the Rena wreck as "pointless posturing".

Labour leader David Cunliffe made the announcement during a visit to Tauranga yesterday.

"In our view, it is an insult to the people of Tauranga, an insult to local iwi and insult to our environment to leave that potential toxic wreck on that reef," Mr Cunliffe said.

"A Labour government will clean the reef up. We will make the Rena's owner (Daina Shipping Company) pay through any means possible. Simon Bridges said that in an 'ideal world' the Rena would be removed completely. Labour will make that ideal world a reality."

However, Mr Bridges said the decision should be made by the Environment Court, not politicians. "It shows he (Mr Cunliffe) is not yet ready to be the Prime Minister. He is just an out-of-town politician trying to obtain local relevance." Mr Bridges said he did not think traditional Tauranga National voters would be swayed by the announcement.

"Come election time people in general, not just in Tauranga, will be voting on a wide range of issues.

"Most of Tauranga will vote on which party they best think will run the country best," he said.

Tauranga Mayor Stuart Crosby said he believed the Rena should be removed from the reef.

Mr Crosby said if the Rena was not removed from the reef a substantial bond needed to be paid to the Crown and regular surveys of the area needed to be carried out.

If the Rena was to leak again the impact on the Bay of Plenty would be awful, he said.

"That's really the issue, it just damages our reputation again and has a huge impact on tourism and the environment."

The Rena ran aground on Astrolabe Reef on October 5, 2011, while sailing, in clear weather, from Napier to Tauranga. It had been suggested removing the entire wreck could take a decade.

The owners, who have spent $350 million since the Rena grounded, argued full removal would be highly dangerous.

- Bay of Plenty Times

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