Saturday, April 13, 2024

Govt welcomes cyclone progress with councils

The Government has welcomed an agreement by Hawke’s Bay Mayors and Regional Council Chair to take to a cyclone recovery cost-sharing package back to their councils for approval.

The potential deal includes the sharing the cost of buying out high-risk (Category 3) residential properties in the region.

As the Mayors outlined on Thursday, the priority areas of the overall package will be addressing Category 3 property buyouts, flood protection and urgent roading and bridge repairs.

“I am very pleased that we have reached this agreement with the region’s leaders that will give the people of Hawke’s Bay certainty. Councils will now be asked to ratify the package and consult their communities as appropriate,” said Cyclone Recovery Minister, Grant Robertson.

“As part of the package the Government has agreed to a contribution to flood protection projects to give some certainty for owners of properties assessed as Category 2, and to enhance the resilience of the Hawke’s Bay region.”

Alongside that agreement, the Government is making further significant investment in roading improvements and the building of new transport infrastructure, said Mr Robertson.

“Owners of Category 3 properties will be invited to take up a voluntary buyout allowing them to move on from their devastated residential land,” he said.

“Leaving a home and a community is not an easy decision – but for some people the opportunity to start afresh, without a fear of future flooding or landslide, is the right choice.

“Councils will work with individual property owners to determine the details of each offer. There are some complexities to be resolved, particularly where the property includes commercial and residential land uses.”

The Minister said negotiations with Auckland and Tairāwhiti on cost sharing arrangements were progressing well, with an agreement for those regions expected shortly.

“Alongside these negotiations the Crown is working through a process and support package for affected Māori land and communities in affected regions. Funding for this work sits outside of the cost sharing arrangements with councils.”

“Communities can rest assured we are moving as quickly as we can, supporting councils make progress with their locally-led recovery,” he said.

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