Judith Collins says no Royal Commission into White Island tragedy 'not acceptable'

Source: 1News

Judith Collins is pushing for a Royal Commission of inquiry into the Whakaari/White Island eruption where 22 people died and others were badly hurt.

Today marks one year since the tragedy, and the National leader this morning said an inquiry would be about New Zealand being seen to do the right thing.

"I've asked for this before and I thought 'we'll see once these investigations are ongoing' but I just think it really is important," Collins told TVNZ1's Breakfast this morning. 

Last month, WorkSafe announced it had filed criminal charges against 13 parties as part of its investigation into last year’s White Island eruption.

But while Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern has said a Royal Commission of inquiry would duplicate that work, Collins said more investigation was needed.

"I can't think of any circumstance in New Zealand living memory where we've had this number of deaths and massive injuries caused and no Royal Commission. I just can't imagine that this would be acceptable," Collins said.

"Certainly we had one after Pike River, certainly we had one after these killing and injuries at the mosque (Christchurch terrorist attack).

"It is important and we find from a Royal Commission that you can get these sort of evidence and the in-depth analysis that it's just not always possible to do in a legal process around a court case or a workplace investigation.

"I see that it's really important that we do this properly."

Most of those who were killed or injured on the island last year were tourists from overseas.

Collins said overseas countries often don't understand New Zealand's ACC system or the New Zealand legal system.

"It is important that we not only be seen to do the best we can for our New Zealand victims, but we acknowledge that we need to be seen on the world stage as doing the right thing."