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New Drinking Water Bill introduced into Parliament

21 June 2006

New Drinking Water Bill introduced into Parliament

A new Bill to ensure all New Zealanders on community water supplies have access to safer drinking-water was introduced to Parliament today by Health Minister Pete Hodgson.

"Compared with other OECD countries, we have relatively high rates of preventable illness caused at least in part by water-borne germs," Pete Hodgson said.

The Health (Drinking Water) Amendment Bill will help to maintain and improve the quality of water in community supplies.

"Currently it is only a voluntary requirement for water suppliers to comply with the Drinking-water Standards for New Zealand 2005. Under this legislation they will need to take all practicable steps to provide an adequate supply of drinking-water to that standard. Public Health Risk Management Plans will also become a general requirement.

"This won't come as a surprise to drinking-water suppliers. The Government has consulted widely over a long period of time to make sure we get this right."

The water supplies to about 71 per cent of New Zealanders provide drinking-water which already complies with the drinking-water standards, and these water suppliers will be largely unaffected as a result of the Bill. For smaller water suppliers, this Labour-led Government is investing $154 million (including GST) over ten years to help upgrade and improve small water supplies (serving less than 5,000 people).

The Health (Drinking Water) Amendment Bill is expected to get its first reading in Parliament in July.

For more information see the Ministry of health website:
http://www.moh.govt.nz/moh.nsf/f872666357c511eb4c25666d000c8888/7b0ed97145c8f73dcc256e27006e1053?OpenDocument

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