New Zealand’s claim to be a first world country took a severe battering with the mass outbreak of Campylobacter from Havelock North’s untreated water supply. Up to 4,100 people are believed to have been affected and at least one person has died as a result, two others are in emergency care.
Now we learn that Christchurch also has untreated water and that it tested positive for E.coli bacteria (an indicator of faecal contamination) 14 times last year. E. coli has often been associated with cow faeces, of which New Zealand has plenty.
Apparently the council are responsible for looking after the town’s water, which means councillors are not personally responsible if anyone is ill from drinking it. You get sick, you’re basically on your own: paying your own medical bills (not cheap in NZ) and losing income from work. In other words it’s your fault for deciding to drink untreated water, even if you didn’t know about it.
‘She’ll be right, it’s too hard” is not an effective public health measure for most first world countries
According to the local press
Not treating Christchurch drinking water potentially saved “billions of dollars” but one lobbyist said if councillors were personally liable for the consequences they would not take the risk.
The council tests water daily for E coli, but it took 24 hours to get results. A total of 5487 samples were tested for E coli over the 2015 to 2016 reporting year…Currently only Akaroa, Takamatua, Duvauchelle and Little River have a chlorinated water supply in Christchurch. source
John Pfahlert, chief executive of lobby group Water New Zealand, said
“The issue that happened in Havelock North could easily happen in Canterbury. It has happened in Darfield.” He said it was up to communities to decide whether their water was chlorinated, but they should bear in mind the greater risk they exposed themselves to.
And what about the tourists and visitors to Chritschurch who don’t get a say?…
Pfahlert said an organisation with a personally-liable board of directors would “never take that risk“. “Because councillors are not personally liable for those consequences, we get a bunch of different outcomes around the country.” He recommended central government consider whether water chlorination should be mandatory.
“Even if we decide to do nothing, we will have looked under the hood.”
100% pure New Zealand. Not even close.
Isn’t it time to drop the pretense before someone sues for false advertising? Let’s drink to that. With bottled water.