Tuesday, June 18, 2024

$1b incoming for cyclone rebuild

Budget 2024 will deliver more than $1 billion to further support the rebuild and recovery of communities affected by Cyclone Gabrielle and the 2023 Auckland Anniversary floods.

to improve New Zealand’s emergency preparedness, Transport Minister Simeon Brown and Emergency Management and Recovery Minister Mark Mitchell say.

Confirmed funding in the Budget will see $939 million in additional funding for the NZ Transport Agency and local councils to continue their response and recovery works to the natural disasters.

This investment will fund the recovery of the State Highway network with $609.3 million over three years to ensure state highways are restored to their previous condition. A further $330 million over two years will help councils to continue repair work on local roads affected by the North Island weather events.

“Investing in the recovery of our road networks to modern standards is critical to restoring vital access to goods, services, and employment opportunities for affected communities across the North Island,” said Transport Minister, Simeon Brown.

“We’re committed to the recovery effort, and a key part of this will be restoring vital transport links across the region as part of our plan to get people and freight to where they want to go, quickly and safely.”

The road restoration programme will be accompanied by targeted funding to support the resilience of communities impacted by Cyclone Gabrielle and the 2023 Auckland Anniversary floods, including additional funds to support the restoration of marae and whenua Māori, removal of woody debris and sediment, the Temporary Accommodation Service (TAS) and local council recovery functions. 

“The North Island experienced a series of significant weather events in 2023, and in order to rebuild our economy for all New Zealanders we need to invest in the communities that were affected. The funding we have announced today will help deliver tangible results for the people of Hawke’s Bay and Tairawhiti as they continue with their recovery,” said Emergency Management and Recovery Minister, Mark Mitchell.

He said Budget 2024 will strengthen New Zealand’s emergency preparedness by investing $10.5 million over the next four years for a new National Emergency Management Facility in Wellington, scheduled to be completed in late 2026. 

“Multiple reviews including the recent Government Inquiry, have found that the current ‘bunker’ facility in the basement of the Beehive is not fit for purpose. We have a dedicated and skilled emergency management workforce, but they’ve been limited by substandard facilities and systems. This new facility will equip them better to do their job helping communities impacted by emergencies.”

“The Budget also includes $23 million for non-Government organisations (Surf Life Saving New Zealand, Coastguard New Zealand, New Zealand Land Search and Rescue and Amateur Radio Emergency Communications) to replace assets that were destroyed or damaged in the North Island weather events, as well as providing training for these organisations to improve the response to future severe weather or emergency events.”

The latest Budget also brings the ring-fenced National Resilience Plan (NRP) fund to a close. The Fund was established following the North Island weather events to provide funding for then unspecified rebuild and resilience projects. One year on, $2.76 billion of that fund has been committed to a range of rebuild activities. 

“The Government remains committed to funding future rebuild, resilience and climate adaptation projects. These projects will occur through both the Regional Infrastructure Fund and the normal Budget process, with remaining funds in the NRP returned to support this and future Budgets,” Mr Mitchell said.

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