Water contamination bill soars to $1.5m for regional council

Water contamination bill soars to $1.5m for regional council.
A report to be presented at tomorrow’s regional council meeting shows a total $1,484,800 has been spent on the inquiry and their own investigation.
The paper, prepared by group manager resource management Iain Maxwell, states $1,040,549 was spent up to March 16 on the inquiry, including $283,629 on internal time and $756,910 on external costs.
The council also spent $444,251 on its own investigation to determine whether the contamination was in part or wholly the result of resource consent conditions not being met.
The outcome of this investigation saw the regional council drop its two charges against the Hastings District Council for unlawful water takes.
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The amount spent on the investigation included $211,977 in external costs – with $100,000 spent on external laboratory testing, and $20,000 on legal advice from Jonathan Krebbs for the investigation for prosecution.
Mr Maxwell wrote the past period had seen further significant costs "given the nearly two weeks of hearing time".
While there would be further costs associated with the second stage of the inquiry, it was thought these would be "significantly less" than for stage one.
Mr Maxwell wrote they understood the inquiry panel would, or had already, sought permission from the Government to extend the reporting dates to allow stage one to be reported in May, and Stage two toward the end of the year.

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