Attorney-General Christopher Finlayson today welcomed the public release of Stage 1 of the Inquiry into Havelock North Drinking-Water. Stage 1 addresses the causes of the water contamination incident and assesses the conduct of those responsible for providing safe drinking water in Havelock North.
“The water contamination incident severely affected the residents of Havelock North,” Mr Finlayson said. “I am pleased this report comprehensively identifies the causes of the gastroenteritis outbreak and sets out the interim steps which have been taken to improve the safety of Havelock North’s drinking-water.
“I thank the Inquiry Panel for its thorough and candid examination of the drinking-water contamination incident and look forward to delivery of Stage 2 of its report,” Mr Finlayson said.
Stage 2 will address systemic issues and provide recommendations about managing water supply across New Zealand to safeguard against such an outbreak occurring in the future. It is due to be reported back to the Attorney-General by 8 December 2017.
The Government is now considering the findings of Stage 1 of the Inquiry and will respond in due course.
The report is available at www.dia.govt.nz/Government-Inquiry-into-Havelock-North-Drinking-Water.
Notes for editors:
Summary of key findings of Stage 1 of the Inquiry:Sheep faeces containing campylobacter were the likely cause of the outbreak. The Te Mata aquifer was not confined (as was assumed prior to the Inquiry’s process) and was vulnerable to contamination. Several parties, particularly the Hawkes Bay Regional Council (the Regional Council), the Hastings District Council (the District Council), and the Drinking Water Assessors (DWAs) failed to adhere to the high levels of care and diligence necessary to protect public health. None of the faults, omissions or breaches of standards directly caused the outbreak. Had all or any of these failings not occurred, however, a different outcome may have resulted. The Regional Council failed to meet its Resource Management Act responsibilities and to take specific and effective steps to assess contamination risks to the Te Mata aquifer (from which Havelock North’s water was drawn) and the attendant risks to drinking water safety. The District Council did not embrace or implement the high standard of care required of a public drinking water supplier, particularly in the light of its experience with a similar outbreak in 1998. The District Council’s mid-level managers delegated tasks but did not adequately supervise or ensure their implementation. The District Council did not properly manage plant and equipment maintenance or keep records of that work; and it carried out little or no supervision of necessary follow up work. There were significant gaps in readiness, such as the District Council’s lack of an Emergency Response Plan (contingency plan). There was a critical lack of collaboration and liaison between the Regional Council and the District Council. The absence of regular and meaningful cooperation resulted in a number of missed opportunities that may have prevented the outbreak. The DWAs were too hands off and should have been stricter in ensuring the District Council complied with its responsibilities.
The Crown has signed a Deed of Settlement with Ngāti Tamaoho at Mangatangi Marae settling its historical Treaty claims, Minister for Treaty of Waitangi Negotiations Christopher Finlayson announced today.
“Crown actions and omissions left Ngāti Tamaoho virtually landless by 1900 and resulted in socio-economic depravation, the effects of which can still be seen today,” Mr Finlayson said. “Today’s settlement provides an acknowledgement, apology and redress for the Crown’s historical breaches of the Treaty of Waitangi.”
Commercial and financial redress totalling $10.3 million includes the transfer of and opportunity to purchase specified Crown property. Ngāti Tamaoho will also receive a cultural revitalisation fund of $590,000 as part of its cultural redress.
“We can never fully compensate Ngāti Tamaoho for the wrongs of the past. But this settlement marks the beginning of a new relationship between Ngāti Tamaoho and the Crown and provides the foundation for a stronger social, cultural and economic future for the iwi.
“Signing this Deed of Settlement is an important step towards settling historical grievances in the Tāmaki Makaurau region and New Zealand as a whole,” Mr Finlayson said.
Ngāti Tamaoho is a member of the Tāmaki Collective. The iwi’s area of interest area spans from the Manukau Harbour to Franklin District, the Hūnua Ranges, Awhitū peninsula, the Waikato wetlands, Tīkapa Moana (Firth of Thames) and north to central Auckland including Remuera and Ellerslie.
A copy of the deed of settlement is available online at: www.govt.nz/treaty-settlement-documents/ngati-tamaoho/.
Attorney-General Christopher Finlayson leaves for France tomorrow to represent New Zealand at commemorations for the centenary of the Battle of Arras.
“Members of the New Zealand Tunnelling Company and the Māori Pioneer Battalion played an important role in Arras during the First World War,” Mr Finlayson said. “Over four and a half months they created almost 10 kilometres of underground passages which were capable of sheltering over 12,000 people.”
More than 100 descendants of the tunnellers will participate in New Zealand’s commemorations, along with representatives of the Cook Islands. Mr Finlayson will also represent New Zealand at commemorative events led by France, Canada and Scotland.
“I am pleased to represent the New Zealand Government at commemorations to remember all those that served in Arras during the First World War,” Mr Finlayson said. “The strong tie New Zealand has with the city of Arras was recognised in 2014 when the tunnel underneath Pukeahu National War Memorial Park in Wellington was named the Arras Tunnel.”
Dunedin lawyer David Robinson has been appointed a coroner, Attorney-General Christopher Finlayson announced today. He replaces Brigitte Windley who was appointed a coroner in 2015 and now returns to Wellington.
Mr Robinson is currently a partner of the Dunedin law firm Gallaway Cook Allan. He has worked primarily in the area of civil litigation, including acting in substantial trust disputes, commercial litigation, construction law matters and maritime disputes. He also spent a number of years acting as a Crown prosecutor, conducting jury trials and appeals to the High Court.
Mr Robinson takes up his appointment on 7 April 2017.
Attorney-General Christopher Finlayson announced today that the report-back date for the independent Inquiry into Havelock North Drinking-Water has been extended at the request of the Inquiry’s Panel.
The Panel, which began proceedings in October last year, will now report back to the Government in two stages.
Stage 1 will address matters relating directly to the Havelock North water contamination incident and the response to that incident. It will include findings of fact and fault. Following Cabinet approval, Stage 1 is now due to be reported back to the Attorney-General by 12 May 2017.
Stage 2 will address systemic issues and provide recommendations about managing water supply across New Zealand. It will examine the existing statutory and regulatory regimes involved in delivering drinking-water to see if improvements can be made. Stage 2 of the Inquiry is now due to be reported back to the Attorney-General by 8 December 2017.
An extension to the report-back date was requested by the Panel for a number of reasons, including:delays caused by legal action between the Hawke’s Bay Regional Council and the Hastings District Council; delays caused by the need to ensure the interim safety of Havelock North’s drinking-water; the Inquiry’s decision to adopt a two-stage approach to the Inquiry; and the underlying complexity of the statutory and regulatory regimes involved.
“The issues facing the Inquiry must be examined comprehensively to ensure we have a clear understanding of what happened in Havelock North,” Mr Finlayson said. “New Zealanders must be able to have confidence that the rules and practices which govern the safety of their drinking water are fit for purpose.”
The Inquiry was originally scheduled to report back by 31 March 2017. The terms of reference for the Inquiry will be amended by notice in the New Zealand Gazette to cover the new reporting dates.
The Inquiry was established under the Inquiries Act 2013 and is statutorily independent of government.
The Honourable Justice Denis Clifford has been appointed a Judge of the Court of Appeal, Attorney-General Christopher Finlayson announced today.
Justice Clifford graduated LLB (Hons) from Victoria University of Wellington in 1978. He joined the Wellington law firm Buddle Anderson Kent & Co, leaving in 1980 to take up a position as Visiting Fellow at the University of Illinois Law School.
In 1982 Justice Clifford returned to New Zealand to work for Buddle Findlay before moving to London in 1984 to work for Slaughter and May. He returned to New Zealand in 1986 and became a partner at Buddle Findlay, a position he held until 2001. From 1998 to 2000 Justice Clifford was on secondment with the Policy Advisory Group in the Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet. He joined the independent bar in 2002.
Justice Clifford was appointed a Judge of the High Court in April 2006.
The Crown has signed an agreement in principle with Ngāti Rangi to settle its historical Treaty of Waitangi claims, Minister for Treaty of Waitangi Negotiations Christopher Finlayson announced today.
Ngāti Rangi has an area of interest centred around the upper Whangaehu River catchment, on the southern flank of Mount Ruapehu, including the settlements of Ohakune and Waiouru.
“Today marks an important milestone in negotiations with Ngāti Rangi and demonstrates the commitment and hard work of Ngāti Rangi leaders,” Mr Finlayson said. “This agreement provides a strong basis from which to develop a deed of settlement.”
The Agreement in Principle outlines a broad settlement package which includes provisional Crown acknowledgements of Treaty of Waitangi breaches as well as cultural, financial and commercial redress.
The total value of the financial and commercial redress outlined in the agreement is $17 million. Cultural redress focuses on the significant conservation lands, and the management of those lands, within Ngāti Rangi’s area of interest as well as redress aimed at re-establishing relationships with key Crown agencies.
A copy of the Agreement in Principle is available at: www.govt.nz/treaty-settlement-documents/.
The House of Representatives has passed Te Awa Tupua (Whanganui River Claims Settlement) Bill through its third reading today.
“Whanganui Iwi has fought for recognition of its relationship with the Whanganui River since the 1870’s,” Mr Finlayson said. “Today brings the longest running litigation in New Zealand’s history to an end.”
The legislation will establish a new legal framework for the Whanganui River, Te Awa Tupua, which recognises the river as an indivisible and living whole from the mountains to the sea. Te Awa Tupua will have its own legal identity with all the corresponding rights, duties and liabilities of a legal person.
“The approach of granting legal personality to a river is unique,” Mr Finlayson said. “It responds to the view of the iwi of the Whanganui River which has long recognised Te Awa Tupua through its traditions, customs and practise.
“This legislation recognises the deep spiritual connection between the Whanganui Iwi and its ancestral river and creates a strong platform for the future of Whanganui River.”
Financial redress of $80 million is included in the settlement as well as an additional $1 million contribution towards establishing the legal framework for the river. The Crown will also contribute $30 million towards a contestable fund to further the health and wellbeing of the Whanganui River.
“This is an innovative settlement. The Crown is committed to working alongside Whanganui Iwi to ensure the success of this settlement for Te Awa,” Mr Finlayson said.
The House of Representatives sat through extended sitting hours this morning to pass the Iwi and Hapū of Te Rohe o Te Wairoa Claims Settlement Bill through its first reading. The Bill has been referred to the Māori Affairs Committee.
“Today’s first reading is an important step towards full and final settlement of the historical claims of the iwi and hapū of Te Rohe o Te Wairoa,” Mr Finlayson said.
When enacted, this Bill will give effect to the Deed of Settlement signed by the iwi and hapū of Te Rohe o Te Wairoa and the Crown in November 2016.
The settlement contains total financial and commercial redress of $100 million, including the transfer of interests in Wharerata Forest Limited and Patunamu Crown Forest Licensed land and the opportunity to purchase a number of Crown properties.
“The Crown can never fully compensate the iwi and hapū for the loss and prejudice they have suffered,” Mr Finlayson said. “This settlement marks the beginning of a new relationship between the Crown and the iwi and hapū of Te Rohe o Te Wairoa.”
Two Acting District Court Judges have been appointed, Attorney-General Christopher Finlayson announced today.
Tauranga Crown Solicitor Greg Hollister-Jones has been appointed an Acting District Court Judge with a jury warrant to be based in Rotorua.
Mr Hollister-Jones has been the Tauranga Crown Solicitor since 1998. In that time he has prosecuted criminal trials, appeals in the High Court and proceeds of crime appeals in the Court of Appeal. He was a barrister in Tauranga from 1992 to 1997 and a Crown prosecutor with Meredith Connell in Auckland from 1987 to 1992.
Judge Hollister-Jones will be sworn in on 5 April 2017 in Tauranga.
New Plymouth barrister and solicitor Haamiora Raumati has been appointed an Acting District Court Judge with a Family Court warrant to be based in Gisborne.
Mr Raumati has practised law in New Plymouth since 1995 and has worked for RMY Legal (formerly Reeves Middleton Young) since 1999. He was made a partner of that firm in 2002. He has experience in all areas of family law and is a Lawyer for the Child and Youth Advocate.
Judge Raumati will be sworn in on 3 April 2017 in New Plymouth.