The Government Inquiry into Havelock North Drinking Water got underway today. But it is only working on what is known as "Issue 8". The Inquiry was directed as part of its Terms of Reference to ensure that it hears concerns about the short-term supply of drinking water to Havelock Nth - especially over summer - and to direct parties to take any actions that may be required to ensure the Havelock North drinking water is fit for consumption. Effectively the Inquiry has been asked to act as an independent arbitrator between Hastings District Council, Hawkes Bay Regional Council and the Hawkes Bay District Health Board. And fair enough too as it turns out. RNZ are reporting that HDC are reluctant to join a three-way working party between HDC, HBRC and HBDHB to organise the re-starting of Brookvale No. 3 Bore for the obvious reason that anything they say or do could be presented by HBRC in their prosecution of HDC.
Interestingly I also heard on the Checkpoint programme a reference to Inquiry head Lyn Stevens criticising HBRC for withholding evidence on a possible connection between the Tukituki aquifers and the Heretaunga Plains aquifer. One original submitter to the Inquiry was quite certain that there is a connection high enough to have impacted the Havelock North water supply. Definitely something to watch for.
Not quite what I heard on RNZ but the Dominion Post have reported that HBRC withheld evidence of a connection between surface water and their own monitoring bore located close to the Havelock North water supply bores. They report Inquiry head, Lyn Stevens as "not impressed" that this information had not been supplied immediately to the Inquiry.
The "Issue 8" part of the Inquiry is only set down for two days then nothing further will happen until late January.