Letters: Chemical-free water for the people

Monday August 19, 2019 Published in Letters to the Editor

Dear editor,

The debate on chemical-free disinfection, free water and transparent consultation continues unabated.


 Our group, Te Vai Ora Maori, has forced the government’s hand into some sort of transparency on these topics.  We have had uncovered, secret expressions of interest; chlorine already in the country before public consultations; misleading backtracking by government to cover the fact that chlorine is (was) a ‘done deal’; and government backtracking on free water for the people.

Since the debate started, government has taken to scaremongering with: Cholera, Typhoid, “Sickness, Death or Chlorine”, “Death of 3 or 4 people”, with no substantiated evidence or health department reports. These are desperate measures by government to force chemical disinfection, without consultation on alternatives.

Indeed even you Mr Editor said in your July 4 editorial: “I’d rather take on the one-in-a-thousand risk of cancer that chlorine contribute to cancer in old age, than the extraordinarily high risk of severe illness and death caused by the water-borne illnesses that have plagued the Cooks and developing nations.” 

Also in your July 12 editorial: “combating water borne illnesses like cholera and typhoid that kill 3.4 million people a year.”  This is irresponsible unsubstantiated reporting and misleading to our people.

We have never had cholera, and we have never had typhoid in our water. We have never had severe illness.  Death has never been substantiated. In fact many of our locals at the government presentations for chlorine in May said they had drunk our water for 20, 30, 60+ years and had never been sick from it. 

There has been no sustained collection of data, specific to the conditions here in Rarotonga. The consequences and impacts of adding chemicals have not been forecast.

Please sign the Te Vai Ora Maori petition, so that we can show government we want fair and open consultation to determine preferred methods of delivering clean, safe, chemical-free water, free to the people of Rarotonga.

Anna Rasmussen


Te Vai Ora Maori

Clean, Safe, Free Water

Editor's note: Our report that water-borne illnesses like cholera and typhoid kill 3.4 million people a year worldwide is not ”misleading" and "irresponsible unsubstantiated reporting" but, in fact, directly quotes published, World Health Organisation studies.   

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