Local Govt | National News Video | Parliament Headlines | Politics Headlines | Search

 

Major reform urgently needed in drinking water supply

6 December 2017

EMBARGOED UNTIL 2.00 PM

Major reform urgently needed in drinking water supply

Water New Zealand is urging the Government to implement the recommendations of the Havelock North Drinking Water Inquiry without delay.

“Safe drinking water for all consumers has to be our key priority and our system needs to be able to deliver that.

Chief executive John Pfahlert says that while many councils do a good job providing safe drinking water, the Inquiry has clearly identified systemic problems in the regulation and supply of safe drinking water, and the need for major reform.

He says unless there are significant changes to the way drinking water is regulated, there is a serious risk of another contamination outbreak on the scale of Havelock North.

“This report provides a blue print for the Government to move forward to ensure that our drinking water meets the needs of what New Zealanders and visitors should expect from a modern 21st century developed world water supply.”

In particular, he says the report highlights an urgent need for an independent water regulator be established with the power and ability to enforce drinking water standards.

“We support the Inquiry recommendation that the Government create an establishment unit to oversee the creation of a new drinking water regulator.

“The report also recommends that all public water supplies have mandatory treatment of drinking water, including the use of a residual disinfectant.

He says the report accurately identifies the lack of competence and training in the sector – something that the industry has known about for some time. It calls for a mandatory training and qualification regime to be established for all operators, supervisors and managers working in the sector. This is an initiative Water New Zealand is already acting on.

The Association notes that the Inquiry has included recommendations in relation to the aggregation of water suppliers. Given that the Inquiry has observed this would lead to improved compliance, competence and accountability, Water New Zealand calls on the Government to further investigate this recommendation with some urgency.

Mr Pfahlert said that this would enable the broad range of recommendations outlined in the Inquiry report to be implemented more effectively and efficiently.

“We simply cannot afford to have another water contamination event such as occurred in Havelock North. The outbreak resulted in many unnecessary cases of illness including loss of life, which has been tragic for those affected and their families. It has also tarnished our international reputation. Experts from around the world are now watching very closely to see how we respond to these findings.

“The inquiry has addressed all the key issues that have been concerning many in the sector for some time.

“It has produced a very thorough and well considered report. The inquiry asked the right questions and has come up with the right answers. We would urge that the Government implement the recommendations without delay because, if it does not, there is a serious risk of another similar contamination outbreak.”

ENDS

© Scoop Media

 
 
 
Parliament Headlines | Politics Headlines | Regional Headlines

Veronika Meduna: The Kaikoura Rebuild

A Scoop Foundation Investigation

Friday will be a big day for people north of Kaikōura – and for hundreds of construction workers who are racing to reopen State Highway 1 in time for the holiday season.

By the afternoon, the South Island’s main transport corridor will be open to traffic again, more than a year after a magnitude 7.8 earthquake mangled bridges and tunnels, twisted rail tracks and buried sections of the road under massive landslides. More>>

 

BPS HYEFU WYSIWYG: Labour's Budget Plans, Families Package

“Today we are announcing the full details of the Government’s Families Package. This is paid for by rejecting National’s tax cuts and instead targeting spending at those who need it most. It will lift 88,000 children out of poverty by 2021." More>>

ALSO:

Gordon Campbell: On Defence Spending, Alabama, And Dolly Parton

The spending lavished on Defence projects to meet the risks that could maybe, possibly, theoretically face New Zealand in future is breath-taking, given how successive governments have been reluctant to spend even a fraction of those amounts on the nation’s actual social needs. More>>

ALSO:

Members' Bills: End Of Life Choice Bill Passes First Reading

The End of Life Choice Bill in the name of David Seymour has been sent to a select committee for consideration by 76 votes to 44. It is the third time Parliament has voted on the issue in recent decades and the first time such a Bill has made it over the first hurdle. More>>

ALSO:

State Sector: MPI Survives Defrag Of Portfolios

The Ministry for Primary Industries will not be split under the new government, but will instead serve as an overarching body for four portfolio-based entities focused on fisheries, forestry, biosecurity and food safety. More>>

ALSO:

Gordon Campbell: On Vulnerable Kids, RNZ Funding, And Poppy

The decision to remove the word ‘vulnerable’ from the Ministry for Vulnerable Children could well mark a whole shift in approach to the care of children in need... More>>

ALSO:

 
 
 
 
 

LATEST HEADLINES

  • PARLIAMENT
  • POLITICS
  • REGIONAL
 
 

Featured InfoPages