Wednesday, May 22, 2024

Hawke’s Bay appoints former minister to lead cyclone recovery negotiations

Hawke’s Bay’s five Councils have appointed former Cabinet Minister, Chris Finlayson, to lead negotiations with the Government on the Cyclone Gabrielle recovery package. 

Mr Finlayson will be the lead negotiator working closely with the five Council chief executives and the Hawke’s Bay Regional Recovery Agency.

“Cyclone Gabrielle caused enormous damage in Hawke’s Bay, as well as Gisborne and the East Coast, and in parts of Auckland. While the infrastructure needs remain enormous and costly, much of the immediate need relates to domestic properties where families and individuals are looking for certainty and decisions on the way forward in terms of land categorisation,” the Councils said in a statement.

“The goal is to achieve an agreement that enables whānau and communities to stand back up on their feet, determines the key features of a voluntary buy-out scheme proposed for Category 3 properties, and contributes to the rebuilding and extending of infrastructure so it is fit-for-purpose. A key part of the negotiations will be the relative share of the costs of the recovery package.

“There is considerable public interest in the issues at stake, both in the region and nationally. The Hawke’s Bay Councils and central Government understand the significant pressure on affected property owners and communities who are seeking certainty for their future.”

The negotiations are expected to begin in the coming days. 

The five councils represented by the negotiating team are Central Hawke’s Bay District Council, Wairoa District Council, Napier City Council, Hastings District Council, and Hawke’s Bay Regional Council.

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