New Zealand to manage water in a new way, the Government said today.
But it is not yet clear what the new system for managing wastewater, stormwater and drinking water could be.
"We need to reduce the risk of another Havelock North tragedy," Local Government Minister Nanaia Mahuta said today.
A campylobacter outbreak in the Hawke's Bay town of Havelock North two years ago made more than 5000 people violently ill and has been linked to three deaths.
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An inquiry into the contamination recommended an overhaul of drinking water regulations.
Mahuta told a Local Government NZ summit on water this morning no decisions had yet been made about what the new regulatory system could look like.
But she said drinking water could be handled by a fewer organisations, similar to Auckland's Watercare model.
The main question was how a new system would be paid for, especially in provincial regions where councils struggled to keep up with population growth.
"Cost pressures are not the sole motivation to do things differently, to ensure we have thriving regional economic growth.
"It is also important to ensure better utilisation of our water resource and assure ourselves that we have future-proofed core infrastructure for liveable cities and housing development.
Everyone needed to be involved in any change, she said.Mahuta said there were no "pre-determined solutions" for water, but the Government wanted infrastructure to stay in public ownership. in public ownership.