Friday, May 24, 2024

Cyclone home buyback resolution a priority for Govt says Minister

Cyclone Recovery Minister, Grant Robertson says the Government and councils are continuing their discussions on how to share the cost of buying out high risk properties following the North Island weather events.

Mr Robertson said councils are leading the recovery for their communities, with the Government supporting them to ensure the recovery can happen as quickly as possible.

“At the beginning of June it was announced that the Government and councils would share costs for those in Category 3, along with working together on supporting Category 2 interventions. Councils are currently engaging with affected property-owners,” the Minister said.

“It’s been agreed that more time is required to work through the policy and parameters, and to make final decisions on how properties will be categorised. This includes which homeowners will be offered a voluntary buy out.

“While I acknowledge the importance of getting the policy right, I am also conscious people are wanting certainty and to know their choices for where they will live,” he said.

Category 3 properties have been assessed as not safe to live in because of the unacceptable risk of future flooding and loss of life. Homes in these areas should not be rebuilt on their current sites and homeowners will be offered a voluntary buyout.

The Government will also share the costs of the work needed to protect Category 2 designated properties. This is where the risk can be managed through community or property-level interventions, including actions like raising nearby stop banks, improving drainage or raising the house.

“We had expected to have details of the cost-sharing arrangements resolved in June. Although we are making progress with negotiations, this is taking longer than we hoped. We are aiming to have agreement on these arrangements by the end of July.”

“I want to reassure people who want certainty so they can relocate or rebuild their home, that this is a priority for the Government,” Mr Robertson said.

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