Tuesday, April 23, 2024

Cyclone Recovery Minister announces next steps in damage assessments

Cyclone Recovery Minister, Grant Robertson, today announced the next steps for property assessments in areas affected by the severe weather events earlier this year.

The Minister said he was encouraged by the work the Taskforce, councils and insurance companies were doing in progressing through the initial risk categorisation framework provided by the Government.

“Providing certainty as quickly as possible to those affected has been a priority, but it is complex job and we want to get it right,” he said.

“Assessments on low risk properties in the Hawke’s Bay will be completed and allow local engagement to begin with affected homeowners by 31 May. This will allow people to settle with their insurance companies and get on with the job of repairing their properties.”

Engagement with individuals and communities with Category 2 and 3 severely affected properties will begin in early June; outlining the process ahead and paving the way for consultation on specific outcomes for severely affected locations, the Minister confirmed.

“This will be based on a shared understanding of the data on 31 May, subject to further assurance of the risk assessments,” he said.

The Minister said local councils have a critical role both in the assessments and in decision making.

He said decisions on the future for residential properties affected by Cyclone Gabrielle and the 2023 flooding events are being made locally, supported by central government to give residents a path forward to recovery. The Hawke’s Bay Recovery Agency is set to play a critical role in its region.

“Engagement with Māori between the Crown and local government will take place in parallel in early June with specific consideration of whenua Māori, Treaty Settlement assets and taonga,” said Mr Robertson.

“Our expectation is that decisions on the categories for those affected in Auckland will be on a similar timeline as Hawke’s Bay. After discussions with stakeholders in Tairāwhiti, a different timeline will be agreed for them in the near future.

“We know it is stressful for residents waiting to hear about the future of their properties and I want to assure people we are doing all we can to move through this process as quickly and effectively as we can.

“The worse thing would be for us to announce a property or community was in one category, only to change that shortly thereafter. We need to make the right decision not the quick one,” he said.

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