Saturday, April 13, 2024

$172m committed to cyclone debris removal

The Government has today committed $172 million for the removal of cyclone-borne sediment and debris in the Hawke’s Bay and Tairāwhiti regions.

Associate Minister for Cyclone Recovery, Barbara Edmonds said the funding will help councils manage the cost of the post cyclone clean-up.

“It’s part of the Government’s ongoing commitment to help communities, including farmers, growers, whenua Māori owners and others, recover from the cyclone,” the Minister said.

“We know it’s important to the regions that the recovery is locally led, supported by the Government. Local authorities will administer the funding and be able to decide how best to direct it.

“Growers have been particularly badly affected and we’ve been listening carefully to them to work out how best to structure the assistance they’ll need to recover. At the same time, officials have been working alongside local authorities on funding allocations.  

“We recognise that this is a huge job and want to continue to support local communities to recover and rebuild.”

Within the funding pledged for councils and commercial properties, $133.2 million has been allocated for Hawke’s Bay and $38.8 million for Tairāwhiti.

“The exact arrangements for funding for whenua Māori are being finalised but a specific allocation has been set aside,” said Minister Edmonds.

For commercial properties, funding will be provided through local councils in the form of grants.

“Criteria have been set, including that the first $40,000 will be fully funded by the Crown, including any funding already provided through earlier support programmes.”

“Funding above that will be cost-shared on a 50:50 basis and capped at $210,000. Work that businesses have already undertaken through their own funding will be able to be counted as part of their 50% contribution,” the Minister said.

Local Government, Kieran McAnulty said the removal of silt and debris was a complex and time-consuming task.

“Once it’s been removed from properties, it needs to be processed and disposed of safely at council facilities,” Mr McAnulty said.

“This funding ensures there is somewhere for material to go. It will cover eligible related clean-up costs councils have already incurred.”

Councils can choose to use the funding to remove debris from residential properties, particularly if silt and debris is blocking access.

“Cyclone-rebuild will be an important driver of investment in coming years. We know more support will be needed,” said Mr McAnulty.

“We will also continue to work with communities outside of these regions that have been impacted by the Cyclone with the clean-up and recovery process to help them get back on their feet.”

Agriculture Minister, Damien O’Connor said funding silt removal was the next step along the way to helping orchardists and farmers re-establish their livelihoods.

“We moved quickly to get grants to farmers and growers so they could get on with the clean-up in February and March. This new additional funding will help those severely impacted by silt,” Mr O’Connor said.

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