Economic Costs of Havelock North Waterborne Disease Outbreak

News article

25 September 2017

The Ministry of Health has released the findings of an independent report estimating the economic costs of the 2016 Havelock North waterborne disease outbreak at approximately $21 million.

The report, commissioned from Sapere Research Group Ltd, estimates the total economic costs to society as $21,029,288, made up of:

  • $12.4M related to household inconvenience (boiling water, buying bottled water, taking time off normal activities)
  • $4.1M local government costs
  • $2.5M health-related costs
  • $1.3M costs to business
  • $0.5M central Government costs

The Sapere report describes the contamination as the largest outbreak of its kind recorded in New Zealand, with primary impacts lasting for approximately four weeks.

The Ministry commissioned the report to explore the impact of the outbreak on both Havelock North, and the wider community.

Amongst its findings, the Sapere report says estimated health-related costs ($2.5M or 12 percent of the total), were relatively modest given the spread of the outbreak.

It says this reflects the prominent role that general practice played in dealing with the affected patients in an efficient and cost-effective manner.In addition, the wide array of support services that were mobilised in response to the outbreak helped reduce the potential for costly hospital stays.

The Ministry is also participating in the Government’s independent Inquiry into the outbreak which is due to report in December 2017.

Information about the Inquiry, including its terms of reference, Stage 1 report, submissions, and transcripts from hearings can be found on the Department of Internal Affairs website.

Read the full Sapere report - The Economic Costs of the Havelock North August 2016 Waterborne Disease Outbreak.

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