Hastings and Hawke's Bay Councils set up Havelock North gastro fund

Havelock North
Assistance from the fund will be in the form of one-off payments. Photo credit: File

A council fund to help people suffering from long-term illness related to the gastro outbreak in Havelock North has been set up and is opening for applications.

About 5500 people were struck down with campylobacter last August because of contamination of the town's water supply.

In June, Hastings District Council and Hawke's Bay Regional Council confirmed they would set up the fund, with each contributing $100,000.

The move is aimed at supporting people who have been affected financially because of serious illness lasting for longer than six months.

Regional council acting chairman Rick Barker says no fund could fully compensate those suffering long-term illness.

"This fund is a clear statement that both councils acknowledge that loss and suffering, and in doing so offer a contribution to help those people with their lives," he said.

While the first stage of the government inquiry into the outbreak found that the councils hadn't directly caused the illness, they were criticised for failings in delivering safe drinking water.

Assistance from the fund will be in the form of one-off payments.

Applications, which open on Friday and close on September 22, will be assessed by an independent professional before a panel makes the final decision.