13 Oct 2011

Key won't be drawn on blame

7:16 pm on 13 October 2011

The Prime Minister won't be drawn on criticism from the Maritime Union that poor regulations are as much to blame for the Rena oil spill as the ship's crew.

The union says the Government rejected a proposal to buy a fast-response oil spill vessel, and regulations for shipping are sub-standard.

John Key told Morning Report there will be an investigation into the cause of the grounding, and until then he won't speculate on who or what is to blame.

Mr Key says it's his gut feeling that the crew is to blame for the disaster but the courts will have to make that decision.

The Maritime Union says substandard flag-of-convenience shipping has been encouraged and enabled by outdated and relaxed legislation.

The union's national secretary, Joe Fleetwood, says the weak rules and regulations are as responsible for the grounding as anything, and unless the Government takes action, "we're going to see this again and again".