Weekly update from the Cyclone Recovery Unit - 1 May 2023

Update from the Cyclone Recovery Unit

Welcome to the expanded version of the Cyclone Recovery Unit (CRU)’s weekly update. This week we’re adding one-page summaries from the Ministry for Primary Industries, the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment and the Ministry of Transport/Waka Kotahi. You’ll find them attached.

CRU is working alongside the Cyclone Recovery Taskforce and other Government agencies to support the worst affected regions to recover from the impacts of the North Island floods and Cyclone Gabrielle.

Breaking news – property categories announced

Cyclone Recovery Minister Grant Robertson has just outlined the three categorisations for properties affected by the January floods and Cyclone Gabrielle. These are low risk (repair is all that is required), medium risk (community or property level interventions needed, like stop banks or improving drainage) and high risk (not safe to live in, homes should not be rebuilt). Communities will be consulted before any final decisions are made about which category properties will be placed into.

Read the full release here: https://www.beehive.govt.nz/release/update-assessment-affected-properties-post-cyclone-and-flooding

No new taxes to pay for recovery - PM

Earlier this week the Prime Minister ruled out a specific cyclone levy in the upcoming Budget to pay for the extreme weather recovery.

Treasury has estimated the cost of asset damage from the Auckland floods and Cyclone Gabrielle at between $9 billion and $14.5 billion – more than Kaikoura but significantly less than the Canterbury quakes.

The Prime Minister says the recovery costs can largely be met within the Budget’s operating and capital allowances, and there will be no new tax that everyone will have to pay to fund the recovery.

Read more here:

Government rules out cyclone levy in no-frills Budget | Beehive.govt.nz

Support to the primary sector

The Ministry for Primary Industries continues to support farmers through Operation Reach (helicopter supply drops into isolated areas) and Operation Muster (stock movements). More than 10,000 bales of feed and 3000 hectares of grazing have been donated through MPI and Federated Farmers’ Feed Co-ordination Service since mid-February.

For more details of what the Government is doing to support the primary sector: Cyclone Gabrielle recovery: advice, support, and funding | NZ Government (mpi.govt.nz)

Support to communities

A comprehensive list of social support is still available for those who are affected by the impacts of extreme weather and Cyclone Gabrielle. See more here: Community Support Package for people impacted by North Island floods and Cyclone Gabrielle - Ministry of Social Development (msd.govt.nz) 

The Temporary Accommodation Service has 2318 registered households and are scaling up their operation to support those who have been displaced. Find out more here: Temporary Accommodation Service » Temporary Accommodation (mbie.govt.nz)

The Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment has launched the New Zealand Claims Resolution Service to advise and support homeowners to resolve residential insurance issues. This can include legal, engineering and wellbeing support. More details here: New Zealand Claims Resolution Service (nzcrs.govt.nz)

Support to business

More than 3500 small businesses have been approved for grants to support their recovery. Businesses can apply for a grant of up to $40,000 to help them keep operating, maintain cashflow and position them for a successful recovery. There is more detail on support available to businesses here: Cyclone and flood recovery for businesses — business.govt.nz and here: Employer support for Cyclone Gabrielle in Tairāwhiti and Hawke's Bay - Work and Income

Case study: Mapping the sea floor

Marine scientists from NIWA are currently in Hawke’s Bay on board the research vessel Ikatere. They are mapping about 200 square kilometres of seabed to measure the cyclone’s effects on the marine environment, including the impact of large volumes of sediment. Read more about RV Ikatere and its capabilities here: RV Ikatere | NIWA

Transport network update

Waka Kotahi reports its Tairāwhiti/Wairoa planning is at the half-way point, which will include developing programmes for each corridor: SH2, SH35 and SH38.

State Highway 25A in the Coromandel and State Highway 2 are the only sections of the State Highway network that are still closed, and strategic planning Northland, Coromandel and East Coast is expected to be under way by the end of June 2023.

Find out more about Waka Kotahi’s recovery projects here: North Island state highway recovery and rebuild | Waka Kotahi NZ Transport Agency (nzta.govt.nz)

Update from the Cyclone Recovery Taskforce

Work continues with councils and insurance companies to confirm confidence levels around the risk status of areas. This is important for decision makers to have confidence in the information as a foundation for community discussions on options to address risks.   

Different councils are at different stages of this assessment, but regardless of this council staff, insurance companies, central government and the Taskforce all recognise the need to provide certainty as soon as possible – even if that certainty is clarity around what next steps look like. We acknowledge the uncertainty and the impact that this has on people, and also the need to ensure that decisions are carefully thought through, 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. 

This week Taskforce members (see Cyclone Taskforce focused on locally-led recovery | Beehive.govt.nz) will be visiting some locations around Hawke’s Bay. The intent is to understand the Hawke’s Bay local context and hear directly from communities – this is an important part of the Taskforce’s purpose in ensuring that local, business and Iwi voices have input into decision making.   

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
  • $75 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 $65.8 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

One-page summaries

Published: May 1, 2023, 4:10 PM