Most New Zealanders enjoy access to high quality drinking-water, but residents of small, rural towns commonly do not have access to drinking-water that meets the bacterial standards recommended by the Ministry of Health. Under the Local Government Act 2002 (the Act), local councils are responsible for providing water services to their communities. The Act also prescribes extensive consultation and reporting obligations to promote councils� accountability to their communities. This paper questions how accountable certain councils are in practice for the quality of the drinking-water they supply. Using information made available to the public through their websites, analysis is conducted of the reporting performance of seven councils, whose drinking-water has failed to meet national standards. The health risks community members face from bacterially contaminated water is a critical governance issue; equally important is the quality of reporting which allows councils to be held accountable for their water supplies.
Barrett, J., & Narraway, G. (2010). Accountability and drinking-water in rural New Zealand. In 22nd Asian-Pacific Conference on International Accounting Issues, Gold Coast, Australia.