Two Motiti Island groups fighting for the wreck of the container ship Rena to be completely removed say saving money rather than the environment appears to be the Government's top priority.
In a submission on a resource consent application on behalf of the owners, the Crown had said only the part in shallow water to a depth of 30 metres should be cleared away from the Oaiti Reef, also known as Astrolabe Reef.
But the Tauranga Moana Iwi Chairs Forum spokesperson said if it was gold that had been left on the seabed then the owners and the Crown would have found a way to retrieve it by now.
Charlie Tawhiao said while the depth of the wreckage presented challenges, where the economics would make it worthwhile, companies managed to work at greater depths than 30 metres.
Mr Tawhio said there had been a trade-off of economic interests, and environmental ones have been over-ridden.
A Motiti Island kaumatua and member of Motiti Rohe Moana Trust, Graham Hoete, said the moana was a taonga which needed to be respected and the wreck was rubbish which should be removed.