The contamination of Havelock North's water supply cost businesses in the village about $80,000.

This was revealed at a Hastings District Council meeting yesterday, during which the Havelock North Business Recovery Fund was established, and a rates remission for residents connected to the affected water supply was granted.

Earlier this month the council announced $100,000 of financial help for businesses affected financially during the outbreak. Applications from businesses for assistance have been filing in this week, with the final cutoff next Friday.

In his report to council, chief financial officer Bruce Allen stated that six completed applications had been received by council so far, with three payments made, and three still under consideration.

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Council economic growth and organisational improvement group manager Craig Cameron said market view statistics during the peak week of the outbreak showed about an $80,000 drop in retail and hospitality spend from the same period last year.

He said although the rate of applications coming in was slow, council staff were out helping affected businesses with the process.

Yesterday the Government's independent Inquiry was formally established, which the Hawke's Bay Regional Council welcomed.

The council had written to the chair, the Honourable Justice Lyn Stevens QC, to offer any assistance.

Under the Resource Management Act, the council had responsibility to enforce the observance of its regional plan and ensure resource consents issued in the region were properly complied with. The Inquiry's Terms of Reference stated it was not to determine questions of civil, criminal, or disciplinary liability.

The council was continuing to investigate the affected water supply bores in accordance with its statutory responsibility.

The regional council intend to finish the investigation before Christmas and would make a decision then on any necessary further action.

The investigation was being conducted independently, but with the full cooperation of Hastings District Council.