Sunday, April 21, 2024

Recovery agency welcomes Hawke’s Bay funding

The Hawke’s Bay Regional Recovery Agency (RRA) has welcomed yesterday’s announcement from Economic Development Minister, Barbara Edmonds and Regional Development Minister, Kieran McAnulty, confirming $6.4m of further Government funding for key recovery priorities across the Hawke’s Bay region. 

The funding announced includes:

  • $1.5 million to support small businesses across Hawke’s Bay, through extended delivery of Regional Business Partner services;
  • $1.2 million to Hawke’s Bay Tourism to fund a programme to support the Hawke’s Bay region’s visitor industry;
  • $1.5 million to restore and improve Wairoa’s River Reserve area east of the lighthouse to Locke Street;
  • $1.2 million to extend the operational distance of the Wairoa Airport runway improving access for goods and support in times of natural disaster and medical emergency; and
  • $1.0 million co-investment with Tātau Tātau o Te Wairoa Trust to develop accommodation initially for tradespeople supporting the residential rebuild of Wairoa, but also to accommodate and support horticulture workers in the future.

Collectively, the funding provides much-needed support for both small businesses and the region’s visitor industry, said the RRA’s Oversight Board Chair, Blair O’Keeffe.

“There are a large number of impacted business owners across the region who continue to face a significant reduction in revenue as a result of the cyclone, and securing support for these small businesses forms part of the recovery plan provided to Government,” he said.

“Another recovery priority is ensuring that visitors from outside of the region know that Hawke’s Bay is very much open for business. Not only are we ready and waiting for visitors, but the region’s tourism industry is also actively encouraging people to return to Hawke’s Bay to assist in the rebuild of the region’s economy. I’m pleased to see this recent funding announcement will provide financial support to help get Hawke’s Bay’s tourism industry back on its feet.”

Mr O’Keeffe says yesterday’s announcement also confirmed further funding for resilience activity and other key recovery priorities for Wairoa, where almost a third of homes suffered damage from the cyclone.

“As a community, Wairoa has been hugely impacted by Cyclone Gabrielle. Following the initial devastation of the cyclone, Wairoa was largely cut off from the rest of Hawke’s Bay, significantly delaying recovery efforts.”

“The funding from Government announced yesterday not only enables the district to increase its levels of resilience and connectivity through the extension of the runway, it also creates employment opportunities for the many builders and recovery workers who will need to come into the region to help with the rebuild.

“This support will not only enable Wairoa to build back safer, stronger and smarter – it will enable the region to look further ahead to the medium and longer-term, taking steps to bolster resilience levels and to ensure Wairoa can be protected against the impacts of future events,” said Mr O’Keeffe.

He said the Hawke’s Bay region is continuing to make progress with the recovery, with many people and entities continuing to work together.

“Connecting local and regional needs with the Government assistance available is ongoing.”

“A key component of this includes ensuring Hawke’s Bay’s recovery priorities align with the Government’s programmes and future funding pathways. The Regional Recovery Agency, together with the region’s leaders, will continue to work with Government on Hawke’s Bay’s recovery needs in the months ahead,” Mr O’Keeffe said.

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