Hawke's Bay's local politicians are largely standing behind the need for "substantial" changes to how drinking water is provided, after the release of the Havelock North Water Inquiry's Stage 2 findings.

Hawke's Bay Regional Council chairman Rex Graham said the recommendation for all drinking water to be treated was to be expected.

"That's just going to be the way going forward. Napier and Hastings are both chlorinated now, so they are fully implemented."

Read more: Havelock North inquiry urges mandatory treatment of all drinking water
Hastings water safe but still more to be done, says inquiry panel


Mr Graham also welcomed the recommendation to create an independent water regulator as a "good idea".

"Drinking water is such an important issue that there needs to be a national perspective on it, and there needs to be a national regulator, so I agree with that."

While none of those national changes were in the regional council's hands, it had already made progress on improving the way it worked.

"What we've done since the disaster happened is to ensure that we are co-operating with Hastings - and Napier- proactively, so we are not just the ambulance at the bottom of the cliff but that we are there right at the start of the process - and we don't have this ever again. That has worked very well to date."

Napier mayor Bill Dalton said while water had been treated in the city since last year, that had initially been intended to be a temporary situation.

"Our intention always was at some stage to remove the chlorine but it looks like that may not be possible. But we'll find that out when we've read the full report.

"It certainly looks at this stage that all public drinking supplies are going to have be chlorinated. That's what it looks like at this stage, I stress, but we haven't got right through the report. We have two teams working through all the implications of the report."

Wairoa mayor Craig Little said chlorinating water was "no worries".

"We already chlorinate our water and have done since day dot. Our water comes out of the river, so we have no control. It has to be chlorinated, that's just the way it is."

Ikaroa-Rawhiti MP Meka Whaitiri said she supported the recommendations, adding that what happened at Havelock North was "completely unacceptable".

"The people affected by water contamination there deserve answers, and to know that this can't happen again - so do the rest of New Zealand.

"Our Government is treating our response to this report as an absolute priority.

"I fully support the comments made in the House today that there has been a complete lack of leadership at all levels."

Hawke's Bay District Health Board also welcomed the report.

However, Local Government New Zealand president Dave Cull said while LGNZ and its members share the goal of safe and plentiful drinking water for New Zealand, there were challenges on the horizon that had not been addressed.

"The report did not consider the costs of meeting standards," he said.

"There are already challenges for some communities in paying to upgrade and maintain three waters infrastructure, so any conversation about standards needs to be accompanied by a discussion about the costs to communities of meeting those standards, and how these costs can be equitably shared by all users of water services."