Prime Minister Jacinda Arden visited Marlborough today to see first-hand the damage to the region following the recent weather event.
Joining the Prime Minister on her visit was Emergency Management Minister, Kieran McAnulty and Transport Minister, Michael Wood.
Marlborough Mayor, John Leggett and Marlborough District Council Chief Executive, Mark Wheeler met with the PM and Ministers on their arrival in Blenheim before accompanying them on a visit to Rai Valley.
Local iwi welcomed the visitors to Rai Valley Area School before the Prime Minister and Ministers met with locals, volunteers, community representatives and first responders, all of whom played an important part in the immediate response to the flooding in the area.
“Nearly a week has passed since the state of emergency was lifted, and despite good progress, dozens of homes are still uninhabitable or severely damaged, and a number of remote communities are without road access,” said Minister McAnulty.
“We know that while the severe weather event itself was over in a matter of days, recovery is likely to take years.
“I would like to thank Marlborough’s hard-hit communities for their patience and understanding. I know this has been really tough on you and I assure you, local and central government will continue to work together to support your recovery.”
The Prime Minister was then flown over areas of the Marlborough Sounds that were impacted by last month’s severe weather event.
Marlborough Mayor, John Leggett, thanked the Prime Minister and Ministers for taking the time to visit Marlborough to see first-hand the damage our region has sustained.
“For us, it was important the Prime Minister and other key Ministers were able to see for themselves the devastation the weather event caused,” Mayor Leggett said.
“While there are other areas of Marlborough that have been affected by the flooding, we were able to provide the Prime Minister with a birds-eye-view of the Marlborough Sounds including the damage to the roading network.
“During her visit the Prime Minister was able to get a true sense of the long and complex road to recovery for our region, and that is extremely important,” he said.
Mayor Leggett also thanked the government for the additional $100,000 contribution to the Mayoral Relief Fund which now brings the total to $266,270.
“The Government’s further contribution meets the request from local leadership and will help ensure immediate support needs can be met while the scope of damage is still being assessed,” said Minister McAnulty.
“It is too early to know the cost of this event, but it’s clear that the damage has been extensive. Once we have a clear picture of the damage we’ll have a better idea of the support that central government could provide to the local council.
“I want to acknowledge the local leadership of Mayor John Leggett, Marlborough District Council and iwi for their role in the response, especially just a year on from the last major flooding event.
“I also want to recognise the incredible dedication and efforts of volunteers, emergency services, civil defence and council, iwi and response personnel, contractors, and everyone who is involved in Marlborough’s recovery operation.
“Thank you for the work you’re doing – it’s a testament to how tight-knit your communities are and how strong we are when we stand together,” he said.