Source: New Zealand Herald, 27 October 2016
An audience has gathered at Hastings District Court, where the
initial hearing for the Havelock North water contamination inquiry
Last month the Government announced an independent inquiry into
August's widespread gastro outbreak, when E.coli in the Hastings
suburb's water supply caused about 5200 people to become ill. Two
elderly women who had underlying medical conditions died while sick
The inquiry, expected to report back by the end of next March,
will explore the outbreak's cause, the responses to it, and how to
prevent such instances in future.
The hearing - expected to last all day - will take appearances
from interested parties on preliminary and procedural matters,
including the designation of parties as "core participants" under
s17 of the Inquiries Act 2013.
A number of parties - from Crown Law on behalf of the Ministry
of Health, Ministry for the Environment, and Department of Internal
Affairs to local residents - will be appearing.
Those requesting to be designated as a core participant include
Hastings District Council, Hawke's Bay Regional Council, Hawke's
Bay District Health Board, Local Government New Zealand, and Water
MWH New Zealand Ltd, which has a services agreement with the
district council, also requested to be designated as a core
Also to be discussed today is whether to conduct the inquiry in
Stage 1 would cover the cause(s) of the outbreak, whether any
person or organisation was at fault, the adequacy of drinking water
supply management for Havelock North, and the preparedness and
responses of local and central government agencies and any other
Stage 2 would cover systemic matters and possible changes needed
for the future.
The inquiry panel is chaired by Honourable Lyn Stevens QC, who
is joined by NZQA CEO and former director-general of health Dr
Karen Poutasi CNZM, and local government and engineering expert