Havelock North water contamination bill soars to $3.5million
The contamination in August led to more than 5000 residents becoming ill with gastroenteritis, and has been linked with three deaths.
An estimated $3,448,211 has been spent by the Hawke’s Bay District Health Board, and Hastings District and Hawke’s Bay regional councils.
While the bulk of the total has been spent by the regional council – with costs of $1,484,800 for the inquiry and its own investigation – the district council has come under fire for spending close to $1million in legal and investigation fees.
Mr Yule said the "vast bulk of the money spent, more than $700,000, has gone on exactly the kinds of work the Taxpayers’ Union is recommending" including technical and scientific investigation.
Mr Graham said a lesson in co-operation needed to be learnt – as well as the Government inquiry, the regional and district council’s spent over $500,000 on its own prosecution.
The regional council spent $444,251 on its own investigation, which saw charges laid against the district council – their costs associated with the prosecution totalled $71,000 in legal costs.
Meanwhile the release of the first of two reports from the Havelock North drinking water inquiry panel’s investigation has been delayed until May this year.
Originally set down to be delivered to Attorney-General Christopher Finlayson this Friday, the inquiry sought Cabinet approval to extend the timeframe.
Announcing the time extension request, Mr Finlayson said it was due to a number of reasons including delays caused by legal action between the Hawke’s Bay Regional Council and the Hastings District Council, delays caused by the need to ensure the interim safety of Havelock North’s drinking water; the inquiry’s decision to adopt a two-stage approach to the inquiry, and the underlying complexity of the statutory and regulatory regimes involved.