/ 01 November 2023

‘Astonishing’ failures despite ‘obvious’ risks

White Island from above, with some smoke appearing above the mouth of the marine volcano

The company that managed New Zealand’s White Island volcano, Whakaari Management Limited, has been found guilty of not doing enough to keep visitors safe during the 2019 eruption that claimed 22 lives, including 17 Aussies. The Auckland District Court also ruled that the company, owned by the Buttle brothers, didn’t properly liaise with GNS Science, the country’s volcano monitor. The trial, brought by WorkSafe NZ, was the country’s largest of its kind, involving 13 parties. Aside from this case, 6 parties pleaded guilty before the trial, and 6 had charges dismissed. One of the key takeouts has been the limitations of the country’s no-fault compensation system, which automatically pays for some expenses of accident victims but doesn’t allow victims or their families to pursue further compensation… Sentencing is set for February next year, and the company could face a fine of up to NZ$1.5 million.

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