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Green Party Concerns Over Order of Drinking Water Assessors

Green Party Concerns Over “Softly Softly” Order to Drinking Water Assessors

11 Aug 2017 - The Green Party is deeply disturbed to know that officials charged with protecting drinking water supplies are being told not to issue safety compliance orders for fear of upsetting the Minister of Health.

Canterbury’s Medical Officer of Health, Dr Alistair Humphrey, told a meeting of around 300 people in the Selwyn District last night that:

“The consistent complaint from drinking water assessors has been that the Government constantly, when they (drinking water assessors) say we want to issue compliance here, they keep being told, ‘Oh we want a softly, softly approach because we mustn’t upset the Minister’.”

Dr Humphrey says a number of drinking water assessors’ have told the Havelock North Water Inquiry into last year’s mass gastroenteritis outbreak that district health boards are reluctant to back-up their recommendations to issue compliance orders where safety standards have been breached.

“That drinking water assessors are being told not to do their job is an astounding revelation,” says Green Party water spokesperson, Catherine Delahunty.

“Drinking water assessors are employed by district health boards to ensure drinking water supplies are safe.

“If they are being told not to issue those compliance orders because it might upset the Minister, then we have a serious problem.

“Havelock North’s contamination, which made more than 5000 people sick, clearly shows what can happen when drinking water supplies are not properly monitored and protected.

“Rather than warning drinking water assessors not to issue compliance orders for fear of upsetting the Health Minister, district health boards should join the voices of concern, including the Green Party, which are demanding credible action to reduce this country’s serious water pollution issues,” says Ms Delahunty.


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