Date set for public meeting on inquiry into Havelock North water contamination
The Government inquiry into Havelock North's drinking water gastro outbreak will begin with an initial public hearing later this month.
The hearing will be held at Hastings District Court at 10am on Thursday, October 27.
Anyone can attend. The purpose of the hearing is to take appearances from interested parties on preliminary and procedural matters, including the designation of parties as "core participants" under Section 17 of the Inquires Act 2013.
Parties able to be designated as core participants are those who have "played, or may have played, a direct and significant role in relation to the matters to which the inquiry relates", "have a significant interest in a substantial aspect of the matters to which the inquiry relates", and/or have been "subject to explicit or serious criticism during the inquiry or in the report".
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* Tukituki River 'very unlikely' source of water contamination
* Inquiry to be launched into Havelock North's contaminated water
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Core participants have the right to give evidence and make submissions to the inquiry, subject to any directions of that inquiry.
The Inquiry followed the widespread outbreak of gastroenteritis in Havelock North in August 2016, with more than 5200 people falling ill, following the confirmation of the presence of E. coli in the water supply.
Two elderly women who died were found to have contracted campylobacter, but both had other health issues. Two people developed Guillain Barre Syndrome, a serious neurological condition that can develop in the weeks after a campylobacter infection.
Testing through the health system led the Hastings District Council and the Hawke's Bay District Health Board staff to suspect that Campylobacter as the primary infectious agent.
It would focus on how the Havelock North water supply became contaminated and how it was dealt with, how local and central government agencies responded to the public health outbreak, and how to reduce the risk of a similar outbreak happening in future.
The inquiry is chaired by retired Court of Appeal judge Lyn Stevens QC.
The other inquiry members are New Zealand Qualifications Authority chief executive Karen Poutasi and Wellington City Council chief engineer Anthony Wilson.
An investigation is under way to find how the bug made its way into the water. Evidence to date indicates it came from sheep or cattle and may have originated from near the bores.
The Hawke's Bay Regional Council is carrying out its own investigation into the contamination of the Havelock North water supply.