Weekly cyclone update - 14 April 2023

Update from the Cyclone Recovery Unit

The Government continues to work closely with local authorities and communities to support recovery efforts across regions affected by the Auckland Floods and Cyclone Gabrielle.   

Rebuilding the East Coast transport network

An agreement has been reached between Government, industry, and local communities to help the rebuild of the East Coast transport network. As the focus shifts to permanent repairs and longer-term work, the alliance will ensure there’s a process that allows projects to be prioritised and resources allocated accordingly, while making sure local voices are heard.

Local contractors will be key to the recovery and rebuild, with their valuable knowledge and expertise crucial to ensuring the right outcomes on the ground. There will be ongoing engagement with them over the coming months, before the full alliance model is stood up towards the middle of the year. The scale of work needed over the next few years is significant and the alliance will ensure all available workers and resources are utilised and used effectively.

Support continues to be provided to communities

A wide range of support continues to be available for individuals, whānau, farmers and businesses, iwi Māori and affected communities.

The Ministry of Social Development (MSD), is providing financial support to individuals and whānau. It is also providing financial support to not-for-profit organisations, ethnic community organisations, and faith-based groups through the Community Support Package. Additionally, people living with disabilities and tāngata whaikaha Māori can seek tailored financial support. MSD is also providing financial support to existing community food providers to refill stock and meet current demand through the $3 million Food Fund.

A range of central government funding is available to affected iwi Māori, including the Iwi Response Funding for Adverse Weather Events Fund and the Cyclone Gabrielle Māori Communities Response Fund (Te Puni Kokiri). Financial support is also being provided to marae, iwi, and recognised community organisations through the Cyclone Gabrielle Welfare Support Grant.

An extensive range of support is available for employers and businesses, including farmers, growers, and whenua Māori owners. More about this can be found here.

MBIE has made significant progress on rapid building damage assessments and reassessments. For those whose homes were directly impacted by events, the Government is providing temporary housing via the Temporary Accommodation Service. In addition, Te Whatu Ora is providing Psychosocial Support through their 1737 Need to Talk phoneline and has deployed additional psychologists, psychiatrists and mental health workers to affected regions.

Update from the Taskforce

This week the Government, through the Cyclone Taskforce, has continued to work with councils and insurance companies to assess the risk status of areas affected by the Cyclone Gabrielle and January floods.

These initial assessments will build a picture that will act as a foundation for community discussions about what options there may be to address the risks.

There’s no one size fits all approach; each high-risk area will be unique and influenced by a number of different factors; and individuals, whānau, hapū, iwi and the community will have different ways of understanding and describing risk. We acknowledge the uncertainty and the impact that this has on people, and are working hard to provide certainty as soon as possible. However, this must be balanced by the need to ensure that decisions are carefully thought through and supported by evidence and informed by community engagement.

The journey ahead remains a team effort. Local and regional councils together with central government, will work closely with communities to ensure their needs and priorities are reflected in the region’s recovery planning.   We expect to have preliminary information to share by the end of this month.

The economic recovery and reinvestment for Hawkes Bay and Te Tāirawhiti is another current focus area for the Taskforce, which continues to work with central government, regional recovery groups, and relevant sectors including banking, on economic recovery plans.  

We would like to reemphasise some points to help clarify any uncertainty.

First, having a red or yellow sticker on your property does not necessarily mean a location will be deemed high-risk or that the land can’t be rebuilt upon. These are assessments of immediate safety risk at the location, not future risk of flooding or viability of the land. 

Second, there are a range of potential responses to the assessments. Managed retreat (i.e., not rebuilding in the area) is one possibility, but so are other resilience measures, including building or enhancing stop banks, changing the structure or location of buildings or building in a different way. 

Third, no decisions on properties or communities will be made without comprehensive consultation and engagement with communities, mana whenua and other stakeholders on both the risk assessment, and the options and pathways for individuals in high-risk areas.

Communities can be assured we are moving as quickly as we can. We are committed to getting this right for the people and businesses involved. The process will be careful and thorough and always done with the needs and feedback of local communities in mind.

The Cyclone Recovery Unit is working alongside the Taskforce to support the recovery of affected regions and is responsible for leading and coordinating the Government’s recovery work programme.

Government support to date:

  • An initial $250 million for Waka Kotahi and local councils to assess and fix roads
  • $74 million for affected farmers and growers to clean up and re-establish their businesses
  • $50 million for businesses with immediate costs and clean-up – to be distributed by local delivery partners in the affected regions
  • $5 million to Mayoral Relief Funds
  • More than $28.4 million in Civil Defence Payments
  • Inquiry announced into forestry slash and land use after Cyclone Gabrielle
  • A new Recovery Visa created to help bring in additional specialist workers
  • Temporary Accommodation Service activated in affected regions
  • Cyclone Gabrielle Appeal Fund Launched along with a special Lotto Draw on Saturday 18 March
  • $15 million short-term relief package to support Māori communities
  • A further $17.5 million to support communities and community providers
  • $3.25 million to support the immediate mental wellbeing needs of people impacted by Cyclone Gabrielle
  • $15 million for councils to remove rubbish
  • Cyclone Taskforce set up, chaired by Sir Brian Roche, to align locally led recovery plans with Government and private sector.




Published: Apr 14, 2023, 10:52 AM