Labour says Tokelau ferry may not be fit for purpose
New Zealand's opposition Labour party says the new ferry that links Tokelau to the outside world may not be fit for purpose.
The New Zealand opposition Labour party says the new ferry that links Tokelau and Samoa may not be fit for purpose and should have been built in New Zealand.
The $US8.7 million dollar MV Mataliki was paid for by the New Zealand government, which says the ship is carrying cargo and passengers in line with its design specifications.
But Labour says another vessel is being chartered to make up for the ferry's shortcomings.
Ben Robinson reports.
Labour's foreign affairs spokesperson David Shearer says building the ferry in Bangladesh was a departure from the government's policy of using New Zealand companies to deliver its aid programme. He says as a result the ferry is too heavy, reducing its cargo carrying capacity.
DAVID SHEARER: "It certainly wont be as efficient in terms of being able to carry the passenger numbers and the cargo as was originally intended. My understanding is because of that there is a very probable likelihood that they will have to continue to run additional cargo boats at the cost of about 10,000 dollars a day up to Tokelau to meet the balance."
The editor of Professional Skipper magazine Keith Ingram says the Mataliki didn't meet stability requirements on its initial sea trials.
KEITH INGRAM: In talking with industry sources, and surveyors sources, they tell us that the boat has fallen far short of its stability requirements, and to meet Lloyd's register survey requirements, it had to undergo some severe changes. And of those changes, we understand, is a reduction in its cargo- carrying capacity."
Mr Ingram says the Mataliki was supposed to carry 60 passengers and 60 tonnes of cargo on the 24 hour journey between Samoa and Tokelau. But he says the ferry can only carry 20 tonnes of cargo as it may have been built with recycled steel.
KEITH INGRAM: "The recycled steel was heavier, but it was cheaper. Hence why the ship is overweight. We have now ended up with a ship that doesn't meet the original design specs, is not fit for purpose and the New Zealand government is being forced into chartering another ship at 11,500 dollars a day to meet the shortfall of the services which the Mataliki should have been capable of doing."
Keith Ingram says the Mataliki could have been built in Whangarei for about 14 million dollars. But in a statement the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade says the 12 and a half million dollar vessel was completed within three-point-four percent of its original budget.
MFAT STATEMENT: "The Mataliki has completed five trips to Tokelau from Apia since March the second and is performing well, including in rough conditions. It's carrying cargo and passengers in line with design specifications, but was never intended to meet all of Tokelau's cargo needs. The Government of Tokelau will on occasion hire other ships, for bulk cargo and specialist supplies, and at peak times of the year."
The Minister of Foreign Affairs and the government's Tokelau Administrator were unavailable for comment.
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