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New Zealand officials charge 13 parties over tragedy in white Island volcano

New Zealand’s health and safety authorities have filed charges against thirteen parties over last year’s deadly White Island disaster.

Some 22 people died when the country’s most active volcano suddenly erupted last December with tourists on it.

Ten parties now face charges under the Health and Safety at Work Act, which carries a maximum fine of One point five million New Zealand dollars.

A further three have been charged as directors or individuals.

WorkSafe New Zealand said those charged could not be identified as they had a right to seek a suppression order on their names at a court appearance on 15 December.

The eruption on White Island, also known by its Maori name of Whakaari, happened on 9 December.

There were 47 people on the island: 24 from Australia, nine from the US, five from New Zealand, four from Germany, two from China, two from the UK, and one from Malaysia.

Tourists have not been back to the island since.

Shortly after the tragedy, New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern announced that an investigation would be held, adding that this could take up to a year.

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