With over 4,000 now sick from drinking water contaminated with Campylobacter in Hawke’s Bay, New Zealand Prime Minister John Key said today charges could be laid.
According to Nicholas Jones of the NZ Herald, Key is backing the Hastings District Council, saying it acted as quickly as it could. But he told Newstalk ZB’s Mike Hosking there could be court action, as it’s not clear whether the contamination contributed to the death of a woman in a rest home.
He says that court action could involve civil or criminal charges.
The Ministry of Education says all Havelock North’s schools and early childhood centres are expected to be open today.
After the rolls are taken at Havelock North Intermediate this morning the students will be gathered for an assembly.
“We’ll just talk through hygiene basically. Over the next little while we’ll have the Red Cross in during the day at points. We’ll be talking about using the hand sanitisers and washing hands properly when using the loo,” said Principal Julia Beaumont.
At the weekend, the Hawke’s Bay DHB said interim results from the Institute of Environmental Science and Research suggests contamination from cattle and other four-legged farm animals may have been in the water.
Dr Bridgette Sullivan-Taylor, an extreme event expert at Auckland University, criticised the official reaction to the outbreak, saying she was “staggered” at how quickly the disaster snowballed out of control.
“Better planning could have minimised unintended consequences and downstream effects that make the disaster worse. The fact that contaminated water was brought into Havelock North in a tanker is staggering.”