Health (Drinking Water) Amendment Bill – First Reading – Video 1
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Health (Drinking Water) Amendment Bill – First Reading – Video 1


the spill is sit-down for committee stage makes setting day call on government order of the day number number five health drinking water amendment bill first reading madam Speaker I move that the health drinking water amendment bill be now read a first time I nominate the Health Committee to consider the bill I’m pleased to speak to the introduction of this bill because it paves the way for some important improvements to the framework for drinking water safety in New Zealand this is the legislative groundwork we need to put in place ahead of tackling the big changes recommended by the hemlock North inquiry you will recall the gastroenteritis outbreak that affected Havelock North in August 2016 this event was the worst outbreak of waterborne illness in new zealand’s recent history and one which this government is determined will not be repeated a government inquiry was convened and this reported in two stages stage one reported in May 2017 in essence this found that contamination from sheep’s feces made its way into groundwater that was used untreated to supply drinking water to the people of have LOC North the stage 2 report included detailed recommendations to reduce the likelihood of a similar event in to rebuild public confidence in our framework for water safety these recommendations included immediate changes to improve drinking water safety in recommendations that call for significant reform to the way drinking water is managed and regulated in New Zealand most of the inquiries budget recommendations have already been implemented or have been incorporated into ongoing activity in response to the outbreak water suppliers district health boards and the Ministry of Health have implemented a number of wide-ranging measures to improve the quality of drinking water in the systems that underpin it let me say at this point that for my part I have confidence that the Ministry and district health boards staff have redoubled their efforts to ensure that drinking water is as safe as it can be I’m also to see that a number of water suppliers both large and small have moved to treat their water I would particularly like to community city council Dunedin City Council in respect of its muscular suppliers and Christchurch City Council for their actions in this regard though there are several common ways of treating drinking water chlorination remains the most popular across the Western world due to its low cost and acknowledged effectiveness thus chlorine has been used around the world for more than 100 years to disinfect drinking water supplies and remains the most common disinfectant for this purpose the widespread use of chlorination has been a major factor in reducing illnesses and deaths due to waterborne diseases both internationally and in New Zealand other methods for disinfecting water are used in Western countries including ultraviolet light and ozone there peps least popular because they’re more expensive and let the residual effect of chlorine they are nonetheless effective at point of treatment the stage 2 inquiry report also recommended some urgent amendments be made to the existing legislation these changes have widespread agreement across local government central government and water suppliers they represent relatively straightforward improvements that should be made as soon as possible based on 10 years of experience with part 2a of the Health Act the bill also includes some minor provisions to enhance the effectiveness in efficiency of the extra key water provisions as recommended by the Ministry of Health some of the inquiries recommendations call for very significant changes to the way drinking water is managed and regulated we should not be surprised at this given that they also found that up to 100,000 people in New Zealand every year may be getting sick in a way that is preventable if we diligently thoughtfully and purposefully update our drinking water approach and infrastructure the government has directed officials to prepare detailed advice on the best way forward this work has been jointly undertaking in the context of the government’s cross agency three waters review which is looking at the broader arrangements drinking water wastewater and storm water the changes that are the subject of this bill now before the house will not preempt future decisions on the reform of drinking water regulation in New Zealand madam Speaker the health drinking water amendment bill will make a series of technical amendments to part 2a of the health act 1956 this part of the Health Act governs the safety of drinking water provided by Network and tanker suppliers the most significant component of the bill will be to repeal specified timeframes for consultation and notice periods for the commencement of standards for drinking water as currently provided for in the Health Act these amendments are needed to allow for changes to the standards to be developed and implemented in a responsive manner and we’re explicitly recommended by the stage to report of the hemlock north drinking water inquiry while the specified periods will be removed the Act will retain strong process safeguards for drinking water suppliers in particular the amendments will leave unchanged the existing obligation on the Minister of Health to be satisfied that there has been quote adequate consultation and quote before issuing new or amended standards this in conjunction with the regulations review process already provided for under Section 69 o will help to ensure that consultation is robust in proportionate to the nature of any standards issued or amended while still allowing for more timely amendments to such standards the bill will make a number of other changes as well these include first clarification that those water supplies required to repair water safety plans must give effect to the implementation timetables provided for in those plans as recommended by the inquiry second the bill streamlines processes for the appointment of drinking water Assessors these officers undertake compliance verification and were also the subject of specific recommendations by the inquiry third the bill removes unnecessary or duplicated provisions such as the definition of medical officer of health the provisions relating to designated ports and airports and examples of activities that may constitute taking reasonable steps to contribute towards the protection of sources of raw water these amendments will in combination help to improve the efficiency and effectiveness of the existing legislative framework for drinking water supply madam Speaker I am well aware New Zealanders have and quite rightly high expectations about the safety of drinking water provided by any group suppliers I share those same expectations and I’m confident that suppliers do as well this bill will help to deliver on those expectations for these reasons madam Speaker I commend this bill to the house the question is a motion be agreed to Adam speaking I call the Honourable Michael Woodhouse speaker 1

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