Beach re-opens

Despite the scaremongering of Labour and the Greens, Mt Mauganui’s main beach is open. As usual they spent more time talking down New Zealand and scoring cheap political points than actually doing anything to resolve the issue.

Maritime New Zealand clarified its position yesterday after 24 hours of mixed messages as to whether people could swim off the 3km of beach between the Mount and Tay St that is open to the public.

National on-scene commander Alex van Wijngaarden said people could “use their own commonsense” and do what they wanted in that area, provided they did not enter the exclusion zone around the Rena, which has been reduced from 45km to about 20km.

Local Margaret Millar said she would go for her first swim since last summer today but would not risk taking her dog to the beach in case he licked up any oil. Papamoa resident Bryce Brown said he would wait “a bit longer” before jumping in the water and definitely would not let his kids swim any time soon.

But he trusted the official’s advice and said it was good they were letting people decide for themselves.

“They wouldn’t leave it up to people if they knew it was dangerous.”

Aucklander Ian Dawson and his son Corey got their surfboards out last night when they heard the water had been given the all-clear.

“To me, it is just a commonsense thing. If I could see or smell oil and other crap floating around out there, then I wouldn’t go out. But it looks good out there.”

Dawson said that he expected to find black beaches covered in “all sorts of mess” and was pleasantly surprised to find that was not the case.

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