Napier MP ‘wasn’t aware’ of water crisis at first

Hawke’s Bay Today, Hawke’s Bay by Victoria White 06 Dec 2017

Napier’s MP has expressed concern about this week’s water crisis occurring at just the start of “what’s promising to be a long hot summer”.

Labour MP Stuart Nash said he had not been made aware of the Monday’s situation until he read it in the news.

“I certainly wouldn’t have been watering my camellias if I’d known there was a water shortage,” he said yesterday.

The first widely public notification was on the council’s Facebook page about 1.30pm on Monday.

“I’m 50 years old and reasonably engaged and I don’t look at Facebook…I don’t spend all day on Facebook,” Mr Nash said.

“Perhaps what they do need to consider is using all means of communication to get it out there…have a complete communications plan that covers all platforms.” Yesterday morning the MP said he wanted to organise a meeting with Napier Mayor Bill Dalton and the council’s chief executive Wayne Jack about the situation.

“It’s hard to know how we’ve ended up in this situation, it’s really concerning. This is just the beginning of what’s promising to be a long hot summer.

“What I do need to do is sit down with the mayor and CE and just get my head around how we ended up here, but more importantly what the solutions are because if we continue to have days in the mid to high 20s we’re going to need a solution for this.

“I don’t know what they are and what can be done so to me it is concerning that we’re not even at Christmas and we’ve got a severe water shortage.” Mr Nash said he would like to know what the council’s contingency plan was – as if it was not just a one-off event, “we’re going to be in real trouble over summer”.

Yesterday afternoon he shared to his Facebook page he had met with Mr Dalton, and encouraged residents to conserve water.

His family would be working to do so, with Mr Nash and his wife Sarah teaching their children general conservation habits – such as turning the tap off while brushing their teeth.

A Napier City Council spokeswoman said their “communications channels were highly effective and we moved through our comms programme pretty quickly despite having a small team on board”.

“Our first Facebook post had an enormous reach of over 50,000 within a few hours – which is reflected in the immediate response, with people limiting their usage pretty much straight away.”

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