Weekly Update from the Cyclone Recovery Unit - 19 June 2023

Update from the Cyclone Recovery Unit

Latest news

Completion of Hikuwai Bailey Bridge Restores Highway Access After Cyclone Gabrielle

Associate Transport Minister Kiri Allan announced the completion of the Hikuwai Bailey Bridge. All state highways in Hawke's Bay and Tairāwhiti are now open, restoring connectivity for local communities. The 85-meter bridge is the longest Bailey bridge built after the cyclone, replacing the collapsed Hikuwai no.1 bridge. The government has committed to constructing 11 Bailey bridges to reconnect affected communities. Funding has been allocated for emergency repairs and future infrastructure resilience projects.

Auckland Council Engages High-Risk Property Owners After Extreme Weather

Auckland Council has initiated engagement with high-risk residential property owners affected by the recent extreme weather events. Letters were sent to around 700 owners, explaining the need for a detailed risk assessment. Homeowners were requested to provide property information through an online form. The Government welcomed Auckland Council’s initial engagement with property owners affected by extreme weather events earlier this year encouraging local government to provide certainty to affected residents on what category their properties will likely fall under as soon as possible, following the process undertaken by the cyclone taskforce working with councils and insurers to pull together data on affected areas.

Hawke’s Bay and Tairāwhiti begin engagement with communities

Hawke’s Bay has commenced face-to-face community engagements on their provisional categorisations of properties, following their initial communication two weeks ago. Hui in Hawke’s Bay areas Meeanee and Ōmāhu were held this week, with each meeting hosting around 70-100 residents from across categories. More than 15 Hawke’s Bay engagement events – including drop-in sessions and community meetings – are planned from 14 June to 6 July. Similarly, in Tairāwhiti, drop-in sessions are being held from today, and council-led hui at Te Karaka commences this Sunday, marking the start of Gisborne District Council’s engagements across local communities.

Red Cross Grants Reach $10 Million for Flood and Cyclone Recovery

The Red Cross has reached $10 million in grants given to support communities affected by floods and cyclones. The grants have been used to alleviate hardship, offer counseling services, provide baby supplies, and aid in clean-up efforts. An additional $1.3 million has been allocated to emergency response and early recovery programs, bringing the total commitment to $11.3 million across all programs. In Hawke's Bay, the Hawke's Bay Disaster Relief Trust has received an additional $1 million grant from the New Zealand Disaster Fund to support individuals, community groups, and marae affected by Cyclone Gabrielle.

Questions and answers

The following questions relate to the welfare and support grant available through NEMA.

What is the Cyclone Gabrielle Welfare Support Grant?

The Cyclone Gabrielle Welfare Support Grant is a time-limited government fund, administered by NEMA. It is intended to reimburse certain emergency costs incurred by marae, iwi, and recognised community organisations (including rural groups, Pacific organisations, and ethnic service providers) who supported people during the state of national emergency.

This grant is a faster alternative to the normal process of seeking reimbursement through local authorities for emergency response costs.  Applicants will need to meet certain eligibility criteria and conditions to receive funding. Grants are usually capped at $40,000 (excl. GST), but organisations may be able to apply for a subsequent grant after discussing their circumstances with NEMA.

Who is eligible?

To be an eligible organisation, you must meet all three of these criteria:

  1. You must be an authorised representative of a marae, an iwi organisation, or a recognised community group (including rural groups, Pacific organisations, and ethnic service providers).
  2. Your organisation must be in an area that was placed under a state of national emergency on 14 February 2023 (Northland, Auckland, Waikato, Bay of Plenty, Tairāwhiti, Hawke’s Bay, and Tararua District).
  3. Your organisation must have actively supported displaced, isolated, or affected communities during the response to Cyclone Gabrielle, for example by providing emergency accommodation or distributing essential supplies.

What costs can be reimbursed?

To be eligible for a Grant, costs must meet all four of these criteria:

  • Directly incurred by the eligible organisation
  • Incurred between 12:01 am on 14 February 2023 and the time the state of national emergency expired or was terminated for that area
  • Not have already been met through another funding mechanism
  • Incurred to meet the immediate emergency welfare needs of people affected, displaced, or isolated due to Cyclone Gabrielle

What cost can be claimed for?

You can claim for:

  • Food, water, and other essential grocery items - like meat, fresh fruit and vegetables, canned goods, milk, infant foods (including feeding equipment), pet food, cereal, crisps, muesli bars and biscuits
  • Sanitary and hygiene items (like toothpaste, soap, shampoo, deodorant, toilet paper and sanitary products) and cleaning products, for example detergent, washing powder and disinfectant.
  • Hire of plant/equipment used to prepare, store, or deliver food to address immediate welfare needs. For example, gas bottles, microwave ovens and refrigerators.
  • Costs associated with packaging and delivery of eligible welfare items, including hire of equipment, fuel, and transportation costs
  • Medical and first aid supplies, including over-the-counter medicine and emergency prescription medicine.
  • Clothing, blankets, and bedding for the purpose of emergency shelter.
  • Purchase of low value capital items used to provide or enable emergency welfare services - for example, fridges, freezers, cookers, generators, or satellite broadband stations (such as Starlink).
  • Provision of petrol or diesel to run household or small community generators to provide electricity for cooking, heating, and communication, or to enable household vehicle access to welfare services, including the collection of welfare supplies at a distribution centre.

How do I apply and what do I need?

To apply, go to NEMA’s website.

Updates across government

Waka Kotahi

The Hikuwai Bailey bridge was blessed on 14 June 2023, and opened to the public today, 15 June 2023. SH25A remains closed to all vehicles until further notice. The confirmed solution to repair the 110-metre slip on State Highway 25A will be a bridge. Work is under way with the preferred tenderer, with work expected to commence on the ground later this month. Timelines for construction will be confirmed in due course.

Ministry for Primary Industries

Farmstrong plans to incorporate key messages from 'The Big Check-In' webinar into its member resources. BioRich, a compost company in Napier, received a $1 million funding boost from the Ministry for the Environment's Waste Minimisation Fund. MPI and the Hawke's Bay Rural Advisory Group are organizing recovery-focused workshops to share information and support, including insights from farming families with experience in adverse events. Hawke's Bay Regional Council has opened applications for the Sediment and Silt Recovery Fund, supporting businesses and organizations in property clean-up. Farm working bees in Tararua continue with volunteer hours and scheduled work by Enhanced Taskforce Green.

Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment

Immigration New Zealand has decided on 95% of Recovery Visas, processing applications in about six weekdays. RSE workers continue to move between regions, indicating seasonal trends rather than significant weather-related consequences. The New Zealand Claims Resolution Service is settling claims for families in Hawke's Bay and Tairawhiti, ensuring they receive their entitled benefits. Three relocatable accommodation units were delivered to Waiohiki, Napier, totaling 22 units across affected regions. Building material prices are stabilizing or decreasing, while labor costs remain high, impacting architects and manufacturers. April job numbers show no significant losses or increased unemployment due to severe weather events.

One-page summaries

Published: Jun 19, 2023, 3:56 PM