Report recommends mandatory treatment for all drinking water

An inquiry has found immediate action needs to be taken to address the water quality in some areas of the country

The Minister for Economic Development says the country's water issues are "a lot more widespread than previously thought".

This year the council has spent $12mil on improving processes around the drinking water supply and is forecast to spend another $25mil over the coming years.

The report on the second stage of the inquiry into the gastro outbreak in Havelock North previous year, when more than a third of the town's 14,000 people become sick from contaminated drinking water, was released yesterday.

Local Government New Zealand said the report failed to identify who would pay for numerous report's 51 recommendations.

As much as 9000 kilometres of water pipes from as far back as the 1950s needed replacing around the country, at a cost of $2.2b, according to the report.

"It is encouraging to see the Government is moving quickly in response to the Inquiry's hard-hitting findings".

Mr Cull said some communities, like Christchurch, were proud of having untreated water, and could be reluctant to fork out money - especially if the risk of getting sick was low.

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"This doesn't have to all be done overnight. this is an affordable problem for New Zealand to overcome".

"The primary duty of delivering clean water goes on the people who are delivering it. every mayor in the land should be reading the report and they should be reinforcing the importance of this report to their councillors and to their chief executives and to their water bodies - that is where the line of responsibility should start".

"The Ministry of Health needs to urgently implement the Inquiry's short-term recommendations and an independent water regulator must be established as the first step towards major reform of water service governance and delivery in New Zealand".

Attorney-General David Parker today released the second stage of the government's inquiry into Havelock North Drinking Water, outlining 51 recommendations including legislation rewrites and tougher regulation to deal with a failure to provide safe drinking water to all of the country's population.

"The inquiry indicates that while drinking water standards instituted in 2007 represented worldwide best practices at the time, since then New Zealand's standards have not kept up with the world", he said.

Parker said the Government had not yet decided which of the recommendations it supported and which, if any, it opposed.

The Minister of Health, David Clark, says the report raises serious concerns about oversight and infrastructure that can be laid at the feet of the previous National government.

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