The Associate Minister of Health was strolling the streets of Havelock North yesterday to see how the community was coping.

Peseta Sam Lotu-Iiga said he could read the reports but to actually get a grasp of what was going on he had to see it for himself.

"I think it was really important to hear what people's concerns and issues were on the ground."

The National MP met with business owners who had had to shut their restaurants until the boiling water notice was lifted.

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"I just wanted to talk to the residents or local businesses and see how they were handling the issue and see what we could do to deviate the problems."

Mr Lotu-Iiga said the Government was doing all it could to support Hastings District Council and the district health board. Prime Minister John Key has said the Ministry of Health would take part in the inquiry into how this happened.

Mr Lotu-Iiga said they wanted to provide any form of expertise that would help resolve or better the current situation.

"We have offered a level of assistance supplying scientists and engineers and we also responded to a request of a clinical disease specialist."

Labour's shadow health minister, Annette King, was also in town yesterday but a lot more critical about the handling of the crisis. "If it had been a flood everyone would have rushed to assistance but because it was the water no one saw it as an issue until it was too late."

She said she was shocked by the lack of recognition when water-borne diseases were a serious issue.

"Water quality standard was the responsibility of the Minister of Health and I cannot believe it took him five days to get here." She was also concerned by the leadership of the Hawke's Bay District Health Board.

Labour's shadow health minister, Annette King, from right, and Tukituki Labour party candidate Anna Lorck talk with Napier City Civil Defence volunteers and Red Cross at Havelock North Domain.
Labour's shadow health minister, Annette King, from right, and Tukituki Labour party candidate Anna Lorck talk with Napier City Civil Defence volunteers and Red Cross at Havelock North Domain.

"If the DHB took responsibility for the communications why did they not team up with civil defence and have people door-knocking, putting pamphlets in letter boxes or commercials on the radio?"

The health spokeswoman was appalled that the only warning residents received was on Friday evening via Facebook or press release.

She hoped to ask the question of Tukituki MP Craig Foss and the Associate Health Minister in Parliament today.