Gastro fall out: Parker calls for Yule's resignation

By Nicki Harper -

Labour list MP and spokesman for water David Parker is calling for Hastings Mayor Lawrence Yule to resign immediately after yesterday's release of the findings into the Havelock North campylobacter outbreak.

Parker said there were three main aspects of failure that were identified.
One was that the Hastings District Council had known for many years that periodic contamination had occurred in the Brookvale bores, and that it should have been treating the water.

Another was that the district council and Hawke's Bay Regional Council had been incompetent not knowing that the aquifer was not confined and that the water had been contaminated by surface activities including the Mangateretere pond, the other old bores in the area, and Te Mata Mushrooms.

Finally, the dysfunctional relationship between the two councils had been detrimental to them protecting the safety of the drinking water, he said.

"The conclusion we have to make is that the leaders of these organisations have to take responsibility, the buck stops with them."

In more than 15 years as mayor, Parker said, Yule had to be partly responsible for the poor relations with the regional council and the failure of the district council to deliver water that was safe to drink.

"He should be resigning as mayor, and there is no way that these appalling failures should be rewarded by his being elected to central government."

Yule said the relationships between the authorities that the judge referred to were those of staff and not of elected members, and that the panel said there were failings among the different organisations, but no fault or blame was laid for these leading to the contamination.

"I have stood by my community in this crisis and I am standing by my role as elected mayor to make this right.

"I respect the findings of the inquiry. I am not going to resign as mayor. As I have said I will stay in the role I was elected to until June 23 after the council has approved the spending that's been allocated for further water treatment."

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