Consistent underfunding of the Transport Accident Investigation Commission by the National Government led to an agency under-resourced to adequately handle the inquiry into the Fox Glacier crash, Labour’s Transport spokesperson Phil Twyford says.
“This lack of funding undermined the Commission’s ability to do its job properly. TAIC has admitted under-resourcing led to mistakes in its investigation of the 2010 accident which killed nine people.
“Following a significant funding boost in 2009 provided by the former Labour government, National refused to increase funding until the Commission was forced to submit a desperate bid for more money last year.
“Labour increased TAIC’s funding by 130 per cent from $2.2 million to $3.9 million in 2008/2009 but it wasn’t until this year TAIC finally had its budget increased to $5.2 million.
“That was too late to ensure the Commission was adequately resourced to investigate an accident as serious as that at Fox Glacier.
“This 11th hour extra funding is a tacit admission of guilt by the Government that it should have done more sooner.
“Instead of refusing to front on this tragic situation, Associate Transport Minister Craig Foss – along with TAIC Commissioner Helen Cull – should be apologising to the families of the crash victims,” Phil Twyford says.