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Safer Drinking Water For 6,500 Northland People

The go ahead has been given for a new $1.6 million initiative in Northland aiming to provide safer drinking water to 6,500 people, Health Minister Wyatt Creech announced today.

"The pilot project to clean up the drinking water in Hokianga will be up and running next year.

"We are continually working to make sure every New Zealander is healthy and well and clean and safe drinking water is a must.

"The Ministry of Health has been working to lift water quality and for most of the country there have been considerable improvements. We now have safer drinking-water supplies, better and increased microbiological monitoring, and more upgraded water supplies.

"The new initiative announced today targets one of our communities most at risk of water borne illness.

"We want to run a programme to see what needs to be done to improve the quality of the drinking water in the Hokianga community.

"This pilot will mean about 30 Hokianga Marae will be offered drinking water treatment plants by next year to provide them with safe water," he said. "The pilot will look at ways for Marae to also become a nucleus for providing safe drinking water to their local communities.

"It will largely be a local effort. It will use local people, local resources and local organisations to provide much of the work involved in installing and maintaining the treatment plants.

"The Ministry of Health will be working closely with the Hokianga Health Enterprise Trust, Northland Health, Te Runanga o Te Rarawa and Te Runanga A Iwi O Ngapuhi together with the Far North District Council and Northland Regional Council to develop the pilot.

"Contaminated drinking-water can rapidly spread waterborne diseases including giardiasis and cryptosporidiosis. Having safe drinking-water helps prevent these outbreaks."

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