Warning on Raro fires

Friday September 28, 2018 Written by Published in Crime
Fire investigators and police are looking into the causes of the recent blazes. 18092715 Fire investigators and police are looking into the causes of the recent blazes. 18092715

Four major building blazes over the past eight days has Opposition member Selina Napa worried and she wants to do all she can to protect the community.


Investigations are underway into the causes of the fires and arson has not been ruled out in two of the blazes.

Napa visited the sites of two house fires in her Titikaveka electorate on Wednesday with her husband, Shane, a volunteer fireman.

The outspoken MP said she wanted to come up with ways to protect people’s homes and families and address the issue of fires.

“The only thing I could come up with, immediately, is a check list of things you can do in your homes.

“One of them is don’t leave coils burning if you are not there. Mosquito coils left unattended have been a cause of fires in the past.

“And kids lighting matches has also been part of the problem.” Napa said many people were speculating that faulty electrical wiring could have set the buildings on fire.

“One of the main electrical faults could be that rats have chewed wires or the wiring is old.

“People should ensure you turn off all your switches in your house before you leave – apart from the fridge and freezer, of course.”

She added part of the problem was old houses and she would look into “whether there is any Te Aponga Uira responsibility, or subsidy, to assist those people who cannot afford to have the wiring in their houses checked or rewired”.

Napa said she was going to ask the government for help and yesterday afternoon in parliamentary question time asked the new Internal Affairs minister Mac Mokoroa: “If there is any funding available to help the victims of fire cases.”

Mokoroa replied: “I also received a request from the member of Akaoa (Nooroa Baker) of a similar nature and I have held meeting with the secretary of Internal Affairs raising the same issue that was raised by Honourable member Selina (Napa) and Honourable member (Nooroa) Baker.

“The answer from the secretary is that the Internal Affairs normally don’t get involved in providing full financial assistance to people whose houses are burned.

“I believe that the funding $100,000 that I mentioned before is the type of funding that I can look at, especially if we are dealing with elderly and disabled.”

Before going to Parliament Napa said the last thing on her safety checklist was arson, which could be thwarted: “If neighbours can look out for people you have never seen in your village, or just people prowling around homes where the families have gone to work or school. 

“And lastly,” she said, “whoever is doing this needs to realise – if it is arson – they need to realise they are not just putting the pressure on the families of those homes but on the community and the nation because it is our compassionate side comes whereby we have to fundraise to help victims. Where we have to do radiothons to assist with these homes that have caught fire.

“It plays on people’s - and families’ – emotions and country’s emotions as well. And so it becomes a burden not just for the family whose house got burnt down, but also a burden for the community.”

And, she added: “It is something that needs to be done because we say ‘as the government’ that we are responsible for our people, for the wellbeing of our people, and it is our job to take care of the people of this country.

“This is a real issue now and it is something we need to address, particularly electrical wiring.”  

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