Ticking toxic time-bomb secrecy deplored

Green Party candidate for Tukituki, Quentin Duthie, is outraged that the Government and Regional Councils continue to refuse to release information on contaminated site locations, and says the public has a right to know.

Saturday’s Dominion Post reveals that a report on Hawke’s Bay sawmill sites contaminated with arsenic and PCP was kept secret for three years by timber company Carter Holt Harvey.

“Meanwhile Baybuzz’s Tom Belford tells me that his Official Information Request to the Hawke’s Bay Regional Council requesting the location of known contaminated sites in Hawke’s Bay has been denied”, said Green Party Tukituki candidate Quentin Duthie.

Last month the Government released a long-overdue report to the Green Party – requested many years ago – showing that the level of contamination at sawmill sites, including in Hawke’s Bay, was three times
previous estimates.

Unfortunately, the Ministry failed to disclose the site locations and continues to refuse to release them.

Mr Duthie continued: “This secrecy around New Zealand’s dangerous toxic sites unnecessarily puts the public at risk.”

“We need a national public register of contaminated sites so there is transparency.”

“Without that knowledge, parents cannot prevent their children playing on sites contaminated by toxins, some of which are cancer-causing.”

“We have a situation where industry, Councils and Government are all withholding essential information, and in the process they endanger community health and prevent New Zealanders from knowing whether the section they wish to buy, rent, or play on is dangerous.”

“It is likely that some land-owners, tenants and members of the public are unaware that their land is contaminated with some of the most poisonous toxins in the world.”

Green Party co-leader Russel Norman has said that there are thousands of contaminated sites around the country, and many of them are undocumented.

Mr Duthie concluded: “This issue just illustrates that the change we need is to get Greens into Government.”

Full media statement on contaminated sites

Photo of Mapua contaminated site (Ministry for the Environment)

Photo of one of NZ's worst contaminated sites at Mapua (Ministry for the Environment)

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