Economy

Quality of NZ drinking water 'inadequate'

Quality of NZ drinking water 'inadequate'

Water quality has been a vexed issue for political parties, with the previous administration attempting to find consensus through the Land and Water Forum, while the ruling Labour Party was forced to drop its planned tax for commercial water use by coalition partner NZ First, although they do plan to impose a levy on drinking water exports.

It's the second stage of an inquiry launched following the August 2016 water contamination in Havelock North, which left 5000 people sick.

December 6 (BusinessDesk) - The government will consider merging council-run drinking water suppliers among the raft of recommendations to deal with New Zealand's inadequate drinking water system.

The Government had written to mayors and DHBs around the country, urging them to check water supplies as it urgently considered the inquiry's recommendations, including setting up an independent drinking water regulator.

"It is the duty of every Government to protect the health and welfare of its people and the Inquiry's sobering report demonstrates a severe failure of governance has been allowed to emerge in the provision of one of the most essential public services", Selwood says. "We thought we were complying with the standards before, we thought we had things safe, but now there's a lot more rigor and it's a wake up call- for the rest of the country as well", says Ross McLeod, CE of Hastings District Council.

The report estimated the cost of replacing the country's deteriorating water pipelines, some of which were at risk of collapse, at $2.2 billion.

Parker said mandatory treatment was not as controversial as it used to be, with a number of cities with large populations making the change in the past year.

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The report isn't all bad news though with Mr Parker wanting to address the fact a large majority of Kiwis had access to treated water.

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

We recognise that water is important to all New Zealanders.

Cull said some communities would be happy with their current water supply and the level of risk from untreated water, and should not be "overridden" by central government if they were making informed decisions.

It sells itself to the world as a pristine landscape but New Zealand's drinking water has been exposed as being among the most toxic in the developed world.

Non-profit industry group Water New Zealand backed the inquiry's findings, with chief executive John Pfahlert saying major reforms were needed to improve the country's drinking water supply.

However the government hadn't yet decided if it would help. "The inquiry raised concerns about the other 20 percent", Minister for Health Dr David Clark said.

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