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Isn’t that convenient

Written By: - Date published: 7:26 am, March 29th, 2017 - 50 comments
Categories: accountability, water - Tags: , , ,

A report into the Havelock North water contamination was due this month. Not any more, here’s RNZ:

Report into Havelock North water crisis delayed

More than 5000 people in Havelock North became sick with gastrointestinal illness in August last year after the Hawke’s Bay town’s drinking water became contaminated.

An independent inquiry was tasked with looking at how the water became contaminated, how well authorities responded, and providing recommendations for managing water supply throughout New Zealand. The panel, which began proceedings in October last year, was supposed to report back by the end of March.

However, at the panel’s request, Attorney-General Chris Finlayson said it would now report back to the government in two stages.

The first stage, investigating how the water became contaminated and how well authorities responded, was now due by 12 May.

The second stage – which will address systemic issues and provide recommendations about managing water supply throughout New Zealand – was pushed back to early December. …

Various reasons for the delay are cited. They may well be valid. But as many people pointed out yesterday, the delay is also awfully convenient to the Nats, who really really really don’t want ‘systemic issues’ around water quality to be highlighted during the run-up to the election. Report or not, I’m pretty sure they’re going to be disappointed on that one.

50 comments on “Isn’t that convenient ”

  1. Lawrence will be chuffed!

    • Keith 1.1

      Lawrence Yule, National candidate? And local Mayor?

      No conflicts of interest there, nothing to see. Actually it wouldn’t be a Nat candidate if there weren’t!

  2. Antoine 2

    Who’s on the panel?

    • Tamati Tautuhi 2.1

      Probably will do National more harm than good not releasing the reports?

      • Antoine 2.1.1

        Again this is a valid point but Not a reply to my question??

      • NZJester 2.1.2

        Probably will do National more harm than good not releasing the reports?

        As Lawrence Yule as head of the council is seen as being unresponsive to a lot of the concerns of the people in that area I’m surprised he was chosen as the National candidate.
        Havelock North is the most likely to vote National area in Hastings, but I I do think it could affect his chances. Especially after National and their previous candidate ignoring the forward thinking of Labour who had purchased land as a future school site and National was trying to do backroom deals to sell that off without public consultation. Meanwhile to cope with the fast growing Havelock North school roles problem National is going to pop more prefab portable classrooms on the school grounds to soak up the overflow. There are currently a large number of new houses being built there every day and I can’t see that stop gap working for long without the schools starting to loose their sports fields. A new school should have really been ready for them by now. I could see a lot of National votes both candidate and party going to other parties in that area.

    • One Anonymous Bloke 2.2

      Use Google to find out, then let us know.

      Edit: I see SheepDip has done your homework for you. Pity. I don’t think your ill-mannered laziness deserves such indulgence.

      [So what’s the plan here OAB? Refuse to share information you may already have at your fingertips because google? Based on what assumption? Please – do get a grip. I realise this moderating comment is coming two hours after your piece of sniping idiocy, but in the interests of dissuading you from continuing down this track of stupid…] – Bill

      • One Anonymous Bloke 2.2.1

        @Bill, since you asked, my plan is to try and get Antoine to do a little bit of basic research to support the arguments he tries to make. I made exactly the same point on the “Down the Gurgler” post.

        Antoine’s constant demands (without so much as a “please” or “thankyou”) for publicly available information strike me as lazy and rude. Gosman employs the same lame strategy.

        And no, I didn’t have the information at my fingertips.

        • Robert Guyton

          OAB, although I risk being painted with the brush that daubs you “troublesome”, I support your comment and almost wrote the very same thing in response to Antoine’s tinged-by-privilege comment. Haughty demands to “prove it”, where a little work on line would illuminate the questioner, seem to be a hallmark of some right wing commenters.

          • One Anonymous Bloke

            I probably overstepped the mark – behavioural issues are for the moderators to address. On this occasion I actually got half-way through googling for Antoine when I asked myself “why am I doing this? The prick can’t even say ‘please’.”

            Clearly the object of the exercise was to make the “stooge” comment, as though any criticism of the decision automatically casts doubt on the ethics of the inquiry panel.

            Haughty demands to prove it indeed 🙂

          • Antoine

            It was just an innocent question!

            It’s nice to ask questions, as it can lead to a conversation. As it did in this case.

  3. Tamati Tautuhi 3

    Sounds peculiar, the water tests would have come back very quickly and the sources of contamination would be easily identified by qualified water and soil scientists?

    Obviously contamination has got into the aquafiers/wells from animal or human excrement in areas above or nearby to the aquafiers/wells this should not be too hard to identify potential sites which may have caused the contamination of the aquafiers/wells?

  4. Keith 4

    Did National not rule out the dairy industry out of this inquiry from the outset anyway? Something to do with birds being the culprit, sparrows, finches and the like.

  5. We already know the source of the contamination – sheep. Their dung washed into the well head. The processes required to keep the sheep dung out were not effective, clearly. I thought this was commonly known?

    • Xanthe 5.1

      So does that mean the aquifer itself was not contaminated?

      • I’m not sure how far the contamination went, Xanthe, but I understand it was a “topical” contamination, rather than one resulting from systemic leaking through the ground into an aquifer. It may have resulted from a rainfall event washing sheep shit overland and into the poorly designed/maintained intake for the drinking water supply. It would be a good idea to look up the details.

    • Bill 5.2

      I seem to recall something about drought conditions having ‘cracked the ground’ to such a degree that shit could penetrate into or close to the aquifer…or be washed down there by the first post-drought rains.

      If that was the case, then there are no ‘processes’ (under any ‘business as usual’ model) that would have avoided contamination.

      • Well, Bill, I don’t agree with that. If there’s a chance that a drinking water supply well head would become contaminated as a result of dry soil conditions, something was required to have been done; raise the well head, exclude stock from the area, build a bund – Act of God doesn’t wash it, though I’ve heard farmers use that excuse many times before.

        • Bill

          Oh, I wouldn’t call it an ‘Act of God’ so much as a consequence of stupidity 😉

          Just been trawling back posts and came across this fairly extensive post by Anthony from September. It, and it’s links, could be worth reading in conjunction with this post.

        • Bill

          Or there’s this from RNZ (2nd Feb this year)

          The Havelock North drinking water supply was contaminated last year by a surface pond less than 100 metres from the bore, scientific test results obtained by RNZ News show.

      • lprent 5.2.2

        Damn shallow ‘aquifer’ if that was the (unlikely) case. Should never been used as a human water source if it was what is known as a seep. Or it was, then there should have been absolutely no stock above it.

        But it seems quite unlikely because human drinkable aquifers are selected because they are well down from any surface. It sounds more like something that someone would make up as a (PR) diversion.

        From what I understand, the more likely reason was that a bore(s) into the aquifer or a collection point weren’t fenced and isolated from runoff and stock at the bore head. That provided the contamination route into the aquifer.

        • Bill

          From the RNZ link provided at

          It also emerged at the inquiry that Hawke’s Bay Regional Council, which consented the bore, and Hastings District Council, which operated it, had known since at least 2008 that water from the pond goes into the bore.

          Mr Gedye asked Mr Chapman if there was a cruder way other than scientific evidence to determine whether water from the Mangateretere Pond was entering the aquifer.

          Mr Chapman said it was obvious that when the bore pumps were turned on you could see the pond sinking and if you came back the next day the pond was depleted.

        • weka

          “But it seems quite unlikely because human drinkable aquifers are selected because they are well down from any surface.”

          True, and from what I remember there are two aquifers one on top of the other. The council takes its water from the top one, the water bottling company from the lower one 😉

  6. Sanctuary 6

    I curse the Sparrows and Finchees and their liberal bias!

  7. mauī 7

    The first stage will be chicken shit, and the second will be more bull shit.

  8. This national govts think? tank has generally adopted what many of us N Z army conscripts once joked about. “HURRY UP,-now wait.” Everything was hurry up,hurry up–now wait. We now have our so called govt adopting this policy. National –The hurry up, and now wait party. Pathetic .

  9. Bill 9

    Am I right in remembering that this report was already a bit of a white-wash in the making? No investigation of culpability and such like…

    Half remembering a post comparing it to a similar Canadian incident where the resulting investigation had teeth…and jail sentences coming off the other end.

    Edit Walkerton was the Canadian case. And here’s the post I was half remembering.

  10. Tamati Tautuhi 10

    I seem to remember Dr Nick Smith the Minister for the Environment having trouble with birds polluting the rivers somewhere else in New Zealand, so maybe dairy and sheep are not the main culprits in the water quality issues we are having, and maybe it is the change in the defecation habits of the birds in our rural areas?

    • Pro-industry, anti-nature commenters have screamed birds!! to deflect blame from farming since way back; ducks, swans, geese, gulls. They hate and fear living things. Kiwiblog is riddled with such orcs (the “Kiwi” in Kiwiblog isn’t a bird, it’s a bloke and he’s not indigenous).

  11. mosa 11

    I would have thought that this is one fire they would want to put before September.

    Using a fire extinguisher instead of water of course.

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