It appears the National Government has decided the water crisis that struck down Havelock North is "yesterday's problem".
The public health cost alone from the poisoning of our town water supply is more than $1 million, but this Government has refused to help cover the gastro cost to our Hawke's Bay District Health Board.
So much for backing the Bay.
It's a mean Government that washes its hands of helping our region recover. Both the chairman and the chief executive of our HB DHB have publicly expressed disappointment at this decision, despite last month being hopeful of support.
Jacoby Poulain's comments in Hawke's Bay Today are timed perfectly. The Hastings District councillor and DHB elected member is 100 per cent correct about the need for our region to show a united front if we ever want to be heard in the corridors of Parliament.
This is exactly what our region should do now, so we can challenge this decision and get the Government to change its mind over denying us $1m for the exceptional health costs of caring for the 6000 men, women and children during the gastro outbreak.
As a strong leader in our local community, I am sure Jacoby will echo her comments at the DHB meeting today.
Together, we have a far stronger chance of Hawke's Bay getting back the money which would have been spent on capital improvement costs to provide better health services in our region.
Our DHB was the only organisation to be commended for its work during the water crisis, But instead of support from the Government, it is now being penalised for its solid performance and strong balance sheet.
One would have thought that if ever there was a time for National to show Hawke's Bay does matter, especially given its majority base in Havelock North, it would have been now.
But no, instead the Government's treatment of Hawke's Bay has been miserable.
We experienced one the largest public health crises in New Zealand's history - people died. The cost to our local community is in the millions and still climbing.
The overall impact of the water crisis has not been isolated to Havelock North. Hastings and now the whole of the region are paying the price.
This was a disaster and we should not have to bear the cost alone. At the same time National is denying us help, it is stumping up millions for Wellington to help it secure a new source of drinking water in case of an earthquake.
The public has been failed on every level. Despite warning after warning, those in charge did nothing to protect our drinking water. Today, we are still hearing excuses by those who have refused to take any real responsibility or accountability for the roles they played in causing the water crisis.
This Government, along with its National candidate with his history of forgetting things, might want to treat us as yesterday's problem, but the water crisis, our health and securing fresh safe drinking water are very much still facing us today.
We must do everything we can to put the health of Hawke's Bay first, and this takes leadership and real action.
We need to get the Minister of Health to review this decision. A joint letter from all our region's mayors, despite one's political ambitions, would help, along with other elected and community leaders coming on board. An open public letter would add significant pressure.
The question now is whether our region's leaders will take a stand together, and support of our DHB to challenge the Government. It's a very legitimate request to seek financial support for these exceptional health costs.
And if the Government still refuses to help us, then I suggest it's time for a dose of its own medicine - and double it in chlorine.
This is about getting back $1m. I believe our health is worth it, don't you?
Anna Lorck is the Labour Party candidate for Tukituki in the upcoming general election.