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Research Results

New Zealanders judge Rena wreck management as poor

20 Oct 11

Credit: Maritime NZ
New Zealanders judge Rena wreck management as poor
65% think more could have been done earlier to avert the environmental disaster

65% of New Zealanders feel more could have been done earlier to avoid the loss of fuel from the wreck of the container ship Rena and resulting pollution.


New Zealanders are also giving the Government, Prime Minister, the Transport Minister and Tauranga-Bay of Plenty National MPs poor performance ratings for their management of the wreck issue, according to a RadioLive-HorizonPoll.


The perceived poor handling of the crisis, which saw oil recovery from the 47,000 tonne container ship start nearly five days after it hit the Astrolabe reef, 12 nautical miles from Tauranga on October 5, is also costing the Government voter support.


The RadioLive-HorizonPoll shows 11% of people who voted National in 2008 now won’t do so because of the disaster, which effectively drops National’s current support nationwide by 2.7%.


Some 46.8% of respondents rate the Prime Minister’s performance on wreck management as poor to very poor, while 27.9% rate it good to very good. 18.4% are neutral while 6.9% don’t know.


Transport Minister Stephen Joyce scores a 45.7% poor rating (24.3% good), while the Government scores 47.9% poor 27.5%) good.


Maritime New Zealand’s performance on managing the wreck scores 39.8% poor, 30.7% good.


Tauranga MP Simon Bridges performance is rated 23.4% poor, 14.2% good and Bay of Plenty MP Tony Ryall 24.6% poor, 13.6% good.


Rating highest are the beach clean-up volunteers with 83% approval with less than 1% disapproving.

83.5% think the animal rescue workers management is good (56% very good), while only 1.1% think it poor.


More view the performance of the salvers, New Zealand Navy and Army, Tauranga City Council and the Mayor of Tauranga as good than poor.


Horizon Research says there is further risk to National from how it is perceived to manage the environmental disaster.  Another 13.8% of people who voted National in 2008 are “unsure” if the disaster’s management will affect their vote for the party at the November 26 general election.


By party vote


  • 50.3% of people who voted National in 2008 feel more could have been done earlier to avert the oil spill and pollution, 27.1% think not
  • Maori Party voters (87.7%) and Green Party voters (84.2%) are most likely to feel more could have been done earlier, followed by NZ First voters (84.2%) and Labour voters (80.5%)
  • ACT party voters are least likely to think earlier action was needed (36%) and most likely (37.9%) to think no earlier action could have been taken.


The poll of 1,961 respondents was taken between 10.30pm Monday October 17 and 9am Wednesday October 19. Weighted by age, gender, ethnicity, personal income, region and party vote 2008 to provide a representative sample of the New Zealand population, the maximum margin of error at a 95% confidence level is +/- 2.2%.


For further information please contact:


Grant McInman


Horizon Research

Telephone: 021 076 2040