Wednesday, May 22, 2024

Billion-dollar package to fund Budget big rebuild effort

The Government has announced a billion dollar flood and cyclone recovery package as part of Budget 2023 that it says will cover the basics of rebuilding roads, rail and schools while preparing for future events with a big investment in flood protection measures.

“The recovery package responds to the immediate recovery needs of today and invests in greater resilience for tomorrow,” said Prime Minister, Chris Hipkins.

“This is about doing the basics – repairing and rebuilding what has been damaged and making smart investments, including $100 million of protection funding to ensure future events don’t cause the same devastation.

“This recovery package will get roads, rail and schools back to where they were before the extreme weather hit this year so communities can get back to normal as soon as possible.

“These investments will help ease the pressure on local communities already struggling with the cost of living from having to foot the full recovery bill. We’re partnering with local Government to make sure cost isn’t a barrier to the recovery work getting done.”

The Prime Minister said cyclone recovery was a core focus of this year’s Budget, and the new funding package added to the $890 million already provided in a “rolling maul” of repair works and business support.

Prime Minister Chris Hipkins visits Hub West Civil Defence Centre in Henderson ahead of Cyclone Gabrielle’s arrival on February 12.

“The Government promised to stand beside these communities as they recover and rebuild from New Zealand’s second most costly natural disaster. Today’s package affirms our ongoing commitment,” Mr Hipkins said.

Finance Minister, Grant Robertson said the Budget’s recovery package was about providing communities and businesses with the confidence they can invest in their own rebuilds knowing the Government is fixing the core infrastructure around them.

Treasury has estimated the damage from Cyclone Gabrielle and the Auckland Floods could range from $9 billion to $14.5 billion, second behind only the Canterbury earthquakes in terms of damage from natural disasters New Zealand has faced. Of this, $5 to $7.5 billion of damage is expected to relate to infrastructure owned by central and local government.

“These costs relate to damage, and don’t include all of the immediate and ongoing support for communities and businesses provided by the Government in our programme of rolling support,” Mr Robertson said.

He said Cyclone Gabrielle had hit the country when the Budget 2023 process was relatively advanced.

“As a result we made the call that the response would be prioritised over other initiatives which were in the draft Budget package at the time.”

“Earlier this week, I announced that $4 billion worth of reprioritisations and savings had been identified through the Budget process to go towards more pressing priorities, like the Cyclone recovery.

“This package is significant but is not the end of our support to weather affected regions as we continue to work alongside them on their road to recovery.”

As regions and sectors finalise recovery plans and decisions are made on future land-use, the Government will continue to stand beside these communities, their people and businesses, he said.

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