Havelock North gastro outbreak: $100,000 package proposed
Hastings Mayor Lawrence Yule has proposed a $100,000 package to help the victims of the Havelock North gastro crisis.
More than 3000 people fell sick in August when campylobacter contaminated the satellite town's water supply. Mr Yule believes up to 100 people are still feeling the ill-effects of the pollution, six months on.
"There could be more," he told The AM Show on Thursday.
"I have about 15 cases in a file in my office… some people have been in hospital numerous times. Some people have had to have bowel surgery."
Without support from ACC, once their initial treatment is complete, victims have been left largely to fend for themselves, says Mr Yule.
"These people through no fault of their own through drinking water… have ended up very, very ill for a long period of time.
"The medical bills and lost wages were covered immediately… but these people have had ongoing illness, and that fund was closed down."
The source of the contamination has been traced to sheep faeces in Mangatareretere Stream, which runs close to bores which feed the town's water supply. Mr Yule says this makes it hard to pin the blame on anyone in particular, so there's no one to chase for financial compensation.
"Businesses were assisted right at the start, the Government came in and helped with a tourism package for Havelock North. Now we're well through the inquiry, down to the people."
He hopes ACC will top up the fund, which if approved, will be allocated according to people's needs.
"People will apply, just like the businesses did, and they will be assessed with support of the DHB and doctors to get to the most severe cases, so the right people are getting the right help."
Mr Yule, who has also served as president of Local Government NZ, is expected to stand down from the Hastings mayoralty later this year so he can run for Parliament for the National Party.
He has promised to stay in his current job until after the gastro inquiry wraps up at the end of June.