Cyclone Gabrielle: Kiri Allan calls for Gisborne residents to remain calm as 'major crisis' declared in region

  • 17/02/2023

East Coast MP Kiri Allan wants Gisborne residents to remain calm and not panic buy after a warning not to use water due to faults at a treatment plant.

"We have just had information that the wastewater treatment system has failed," she told Newshub. "So we are asking residents to not use any water, to cease using water for the next couple of hours."

The issue is at the Waipaoa water treatment plant, the secondary treatment plant in the region that supplies water to the town. 

The Tairāwhiti Civil Defence group has called it a "major crisis". 

"This is a major crisis our city has no water. Don't turn your taps on The Waipaoa back up water treatment has failed. We are not getting any water into the city's reserviors. STOP NOW."

Allan said there has been messaging in recent days about reducing water use, but people must now stop while officials fix the issues. 

"Water, fuel, connectivity, these are all at the top of our priorities. That water preservation, that messaging that has been going out to our community for the last four or five days, incredibly critical," she said.

"Now, we have exceeded use and there are a couple of breaks that need to be tendered to. Keep calm everybody, but please stop using that water, no need to go out and panic buy, use what you need to, treat each other with respect and dignity whilst we are all in this state together."

A Te Whatu Ora - Health New Zealand spokesperson is also warning people to avoid flood water as it could be contaminated with sewage and other hazards.

"One of the main risks from flood water is gastroenteritis (stomach bug). Most people who develop gastroenteritis can manage their symptoms at home but it can be more serious for the very young, very old or those with underlying medical conditions. If you feel unwell after coming into contact with floodwater call your doctor or call Healthline for free on 0800 611 116."