Labour is claiming the Rena disaster clean-up will cost the taxpayer over $50 million.
"Kiwis have seen the heart-breaking environmental cost of the
grounding. Now we know the total price tag for the clean-up will be
$50 million, a large part of which Kiwis will be paying for," says
Labour's Environment spokesperson Grant Robertson.
"If National had incorporated international conventions on liability for damage into New Zealand law - which it was advised to do - costs to taxpayers would have been significantly reduced."
The Rena snapped in half on January 9 and the two sections of the vessel have been resting on the Astrolabe Reef since.
The vessel leaked around 350 tonnes of oil, containers fell into the sea and wildlife was killed after it grounded on the reef.
Labour says they have obtained the $50 million figure in documents received after an official information request to Maritime New Zealand.
"The government should pick this up or get off its backside and introduce its own legislation. Otherwise, if another accident happens, taxpayers will be forking out again. It is simply not good enough," Robertson says.
Meanwhile, earlier this week salvour begun removing sections of the wrecked bow of the Rena.
US-based Resolve Salvage & Fire said pre-cutting work on the internal structures was under way and a helicopter and crane barge have begun removing pre-cut scrap metal.
The company was appointed by Rena's owners and insurers to undertake the next stage of the salvage which will reduce Rena's bow section to one metre below the mean water line by early 2013, depending on weather conditions.