Independent inquiry into Havelock North water contamination gets under way
An independent inquiry into the contamination of Havelock North's water supply will begin its work this week, the Government has announced.
Attorney-General Chris Finlayson has also revealed the members of the inquiry, who have to report back with their findings by March next year.
Last month, the Government announced an inquiry into the Havelock North campylobacter outbreak, which has affected thousands of residents and been linked to the deaths of two elderly people.
Finlayson said the inquiry would be chaired by retired Court of Appeal judge Lyn Stevens QC.
* Govt announces 'wide-ranging' Havelock North inquiry
* Report: Havelock North had gastro outbreak 18 years ago
* Second elderly woman dies after contracting campylobacter in outbreak
* Councils clash over gastro outbreak investigation
* Tukituki River 'very unlikely' source of water contamination
* Inquiry to be launched into Havelock North's contaminated water
* Questions on water crisis begin as residents return to health
The other inquiry members are New Zealand Qualifications Authority chief executive Karen Poutasi and Wellington City Council chief engineer Anthony Wilson.
"The members of the inquiry panel have the extensive legal, public health, local government and water management expertise required to conduct an inquiry of this nature," Finlayson said.
The inquiry would start this week, but had until March 31 next year to report back.
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.
TWO DEATHS LINKED TO OUTBREAK
The inquiry's members would hold a sitting in Hawke's Bay "in the coming weeks", Finlayson said.
The latest outbreak made 5200 people sick and hospitalised 22. Two elderly women who died were found to have contracted campylobacter, but both had other health issues.
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.
In August, Prime Minister John Key said the inquiry had broad terms of reference, and the Government would consider any wide recommendations made.