National and Labour join over gastro

By Victoria White -
2 comments
National Tukituki MP Craig Foss.
National Tukituki MP Craig Foss.

Politics are being put aside by Hawke's Bay's MPs on both sides of the house to help Havelock North recover.

In an "unprecedented" move, National Tukituki MP Craig Foss has joined arms with Labour's Ikaroa Rawhiti MP Meka Whaitiri, and Napier MP Stuart Nash, in an bid to show their support for Havelock North after the gastro outbreak.

In early August, the village's water supply was contaminated with E.Coli leaving around 5200 people - a third of the suburbs' population - sick with campylobacter.

In a joint Talking Point in this edition of Hawke's Bay Today, the three stated they were taking this step to "demonstrate our willingness to put aside our political differences as Havelock North works to resume its rightful place as the Best Village in New Zealand".

Although members of opposing parties, Mr Foss said they all cared. "A part of our region was hurting and that's the trigger for us to go well hold on, is there anything we can do to help. I know it's unprecedented this, but the event was unprecedented, and [we'll do] anything that can help give strength to the recovery."

Mr Nash said there was a time and place to put all politics aside, and work for the good of the community.

"We all decided that this is not a time for us to play party politics at all, we need to be seen by all our communities to be working together in a constructive way to do what's right."

Ms Whaitiri said the largest gastro outbreak in New Zealand was not something to politicise.

As "true Hawke's Bay-ians", she said the three should work together as local MPs to show solidarity, and support to the community.

"We're in two parties but I honestly believe you can have your political flags but ultimately do your absolute best for your electorate, and the people that voted for you."

As well as demonstrating to all of Hawke's Bay that the gastro outbreak event was above politics, the MPs hoped to show people their willingness to assist Havelock North.

Getting back to business as usual was the best thing that could be done, Mr Foss said.

This would ensure the positive perception of Havelock North continued, and that its reputation, and Hawke's Bay's was not harmed. "We're all doing what we ... need to do for the greater good for Hawke's Bay."

Mr Nash said there would be lessons which emerged and working in a "cross-party way" was the best way to ensure a similar situation never happened again.

"We'll continue to work together on this," he said, adding they would hold the commissioner of the inquiry, and local councils to account.

Ms Whaitiri said, "I stand next to [Mr Foss], both [Mr Nash] and I do, to ensure this inquiry does shine light on the cause and all the other concerns [so] that it would never ever happen again in Havelock North or the rest of the country."

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