Saturday, July 20, 2024

$300m disaster relief package announced

The Government has announced it will provide a further emergency relief package for regions hit by Cyclone Gabrielle and the January floods.

The package consists of $250 million to help Waka Kotahi and local councils to assess and fix roads; $50 million to deliver interim emergency business and primary sector support; and Inland Revenue support including interest write-offs, tax concessions for donated trading stock and an extension of R&D Tax Incentive filing deadlines

“I saw first-hand the devastation in the Hawke’s Bay yesterday and I know other areas have also been hit hard,” said Finance Minister, Grant Robertson.

“As Finance Minister I have been clear that we have the fiscal headroom to support our people and we will do that as we have done through all the other disasters we have guided this country though.”

He said today’s announcement was a further step in the Government’s response to provide support as a clearer picture of the damage and the costs to each region emerges.

Distribution of the $50 million in support for business and the primary sector will be finalised by Ministers in the coming week.

“This will include support to businesses to meet immediate costs and further assist with clean-up. We will coordinate the allocation of this funding with local business groups, iwi and local government in the affected regions,” said Mr Robertson.

“The Government recognises the weather events are having an impact on people and businesses meeting their tax obligations, so we are taking a range of tax relief measures as well.”

Transport Minister, Michael Wood said the the roads network has been hit hard in cyclone and flood-affected areas.

“Immediate short-term funding is required to help Waka Kotahi and financially constrained local authorities get New Zealand’s essential transport network operating again. Cabinet has agreed to an immediate $250 million for these emergency works,” he said.

“Our primary focus is on getting lifeline roads open and reconnecting isolated communities.

“Over the last week contractors have worked tirelessly in very challenging conditions to clear slips, remove debris and carry out vital geotechnical safety inspections at dozens of affected sites. To these contractors we say thank you.

“We have a large job ahead to determine the extent of which State and local roads can be rebuilt and which cannot or should not be replaced. This medium and long-term work will take time and require additional funding over and above that announced today,” Mr Wood said.

This support comes on top of a range of assistance provided to people and businesses via:

  • Mayoral Relief Funds: $3.35 million has been dispersed in the Tairāwhiti, Hawke’s Bay, Thames-Coromandel and Auckland regions, with further requests expected
  • Civil Defence Payments: More than $28.4 million of Civil Defence Payments have been made to approximately 57,000 people
  • The Primary Sector Response: An initial $4 million has been made available through MPI
  • Community and Social support: A $11.5 million package for NGOs and community groups to provide immediate support
  • Initial support for the Upper North Island flooding: An initial $5 million business support fund for those largely in Auckland affected by the floods in January.

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