Gisborne councillor welcomes PCE inquiry

Gisborne District Councillor Manu Caddie says he is very pleased that the Parliamentary Commissioner for the Environment has decided to launch a full and independent inquiry into the risks of hydraulic fracturing in New Zealand.

“I first wrote to Dr Jan Wright in November last year asking her office to undertake an inquiry, so was pleased to hear that the scoping investigation started by her staff quickly revealed the need for a full inquiry under the Environment Act. The office of the PCE had said they did not expect to make a decision until mid-year, so obviously they found enough evidence to launch the inquiry immediately.”

While an application to frack is expected in the next few weeks from Canadian company Apache Corporation, Gisborne District Council staff have said they do not have expertise in petroleum exploration and earlier this month said they support an independent inquiry.

“It is obvious – to everyone except maybe the industry and Minister of Energy & Resources – that the fracking process has some serious problems associated with it. Hopefully the peer-reviewed PCE report due by the end of the year will provide some clarity on if and how it can be done safely here.”

Mr Caddie says he has asked the PCE if an advisory group for the investigation can be established comprising various stakeholders including industry representatives, central government officials, local government representatives who may provide feedback on the proposed scope, terms of reference and draft report.

“I think such a group would ensure the final report will be beyond criticism as much as possible if those who have concerns and those who have been claiming everything is fine, are able to comment on the scope and planned process for the inquiry.”
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