Hastings mayor Sandra Hazlehurst and former mayor Lawrence Yule, now the National MP for Tukituki, have welcomed the Havelock North water inquiry's Stage 2 report, which was released yesterday.

Mrs Hazlehurst said the findings were helpful both for Hastings and New Zealand.

"The recommendations for mandatory treatment and residual disinfection provide certainty for our community.

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"They have also placed emphasis on improving water regulations and the drinking water standards. New Zealanders should be able to rely on the drinking water standards to ensure the water they drink is safe."

She said the Hastings District Council was already committed to providing a safe and resilient drinking water supply to residents.

"We are spending $12 million on improvements this year, with a further $25m plus forecast to be spent over the next four years."

Initiatives to date included the UV plant at Brookvale bore 3 and the $1.5m purchase of pipes for the first new connection between Hastings and Havelock North.

"We have now employed eight new staff in the water team and we are implementing a complete review of our water services operation."

The inquiry's report recommended all public drinking water suppliers set up joint working groups similar to that established in Hawke's Bay after last year's contamination.

Mrs Hazlehurst said this as well as a regional governance water strategy (including all Hawke's Bay councils) were working well.

"We source and use the same water - we need to work together to look at water safety across the whole region, not just Hastings."

On the recommendation that treatment such as chlorination become mandatory for all public drinking water supplies, Mrs Hazlehurst acknowledged that some in the community had concerns about the taste and odour, but said the overall investment in upgrading the water network would help improve these issues as time went on.

It was important, however, that the chlorine-free taps were maintained in the long-term.

"These taps are used very widely by the community - we have upgraded these as well so they are more efficient and easy to use."

Early next year, she said, water "drop-in" public information days would be held for people to learn more about the work being done on the water upgrades.

Mr Yule welcomed the tougher regime suggested in the inquiry's recommendations, including treating all drinking water.

"As I got further into the inquiry, I always thought there would be a tougher regime around treatment and standards.

"As a consequence of all of this they have identified that more than 700,000 people are exposed to very similar risks that the people of Havelock North were and something has to change around that."

Mr Yule said he had previously accepted the criticisms of the first stage of the inquiry to do with local authority processes, relationships and maintenance records.

"This part is really focused on the regulatory regime that controls drinking water and that has come in for some criticism.

"I think it's a systemic failure that has occurred here across every part of the management of this.

"I'm hugely regretful about what happened, but if there's an upside it's having this whole review of how drinking water is delivered in New Zealand.

"That should mean, if all these recommendations are followed, there should not be another contamination anywhere in New Zealand."