Weekly Update from the Cyclone Recovery Unit - 26 June 2023

Update from the Cyclone Recovery Unit

Latest news

Engagement on initial risk categorisation continues in severely affected regions

Engagement efforts regarding land categorisations in Hawke's Bay continued last week as local councils organised hui with affected landowners in Esk Valley, Tangoio, Wairoa, and Pākōwhai. Each hui saw a turnout ranging from 70 to 120 impacted residents.

Similarly, in Tairāwhiti, the Cyclone Recovery Unit (CRU) supported a council-led hui in Te Karaka, a predominantly Māori community, on Sunday, June 18. Additionally, drop-ins at council offices have commenced, welcoming approximately 200 affected residents. These events mark the beginning of Gisborne District Council's engagement efforts across local communities.

In Tāmaki Makaurau (Auckland), around 1,700 property owners were contacted in the week beginning June 19 to inform yellow placard holders that their property may fall within the high-risk category designated by the government, requiring a detailed risk assessment. This follows an initial batch of 700 property owners who contacted the previous week to red placard holders, indicating properties of highest risk. The letters seek further information from property owners on the impact of the North Island severe weather event.

These engagement initiatives aim to provide affected residents with essential information about the land categorisations and offer opportunities for them to express their concerns, ask questions, and provide feedback. By facilitating direct communication between councils and impacted individuals, local authorities are seeking to address specific issues and ensure that the recovery process aligns with the needs and aspirations of the affected communities.

Hawke's Bay Councils Review Land Categorisation Data, Encourage Community Engagement

Hawke's Bay councils have taken a further step towards providing clarity for property owners in the region by reviewing their provisional land categorisation data.

The independent review completed this week, aimed at informing affected property owners of their land categorisations, has resulted in slight adjustments to some areas. Local councils have already contacted the affected property owners directly to communicate the changes.

This announcement by Hawke's Bay councils means local authorities can move forward with greater assurance, as they continue their community conversations over the coming weeks.

However, while the data has been independently reviewed and assured, properties in areas categorised as 2 or 3 remain provisional until an engagement process has been completed. Councils are now seeking qualitative data through community engagement and conversations to inform the risk categorisation. This will help build a comprehensive understanding of the historical and present nature of the land in the area.

Government, together with councils, wants to ensure local voices are heard, and that we fully understand the valuable local knowledge that exists within our communities.

Cyclone Recovery Unit initiates tailored engagement with Māori for cyclone recovery planning

The Cyclone Recovery Unit (CRU), alongside key government agencies, is collaborating with local councils to conduct initial engagement activities focused on recent risk assessments and the provisional land categorisation maps.

By actively participating in these hui, Māori communities can contribute their unique insights and concerns, aiding in the development of comprehensive and effective recovery strategies.

Hui have been taking place in Hawke’s Bay and Tairawhiti with more hui planned in the coming weeks.

The CRU is also working with Te Puni Kōkiri, Te Arawhiti, Treasury, and Ministry for the Environment to adopt a unified approach with the goal to engage directly with iwi, post-settlement governance entities, marae, and hapū trust representatives on the cyclone recovery.

Updates across government

Waka Kotahi

In a recent update from Waka Kotahi, significant developments have been announced regarding the Hikuwai Bailey Bridge and the repair of State Highway 25A (SH25A).

On June 14, 2023, the Hikuwai Bailey Bridge was blessed in a special ceremony. Just one day later, on June 15, the bridge was opened to the public, providing a crucial connection for travelers.

However, it is important to note that SH25A remains closed to all vehicles until further notice. The closure is a result of a significant 110-metre slip that occurred on the highway. After careful consideration, Waka Kotahi has determined that constructing a bridge will be the most effective solution to repair the damage.

Waka Kotahi is currently working closely with the preferred tenderer for the project, and construction is expected to commence later this month. The agency is focused on ensuring the repairs are carried out promptly and efficiently, while prioritising the safety and convenience of road users.

Ministry for Primary Industries

The Ministry for Primary Industries (MPI) is providing funding initiatives and research programs to aid in recovery and ensure the wellbeing of the primary industries in these areas.

As part of the support, a temporary law change is being proposed to allow open-air burning of cyclone and flood waste. This initiative aims to facilitate debris disposal and the cleanup process, demonstrating the government's responsiveness to community needs.

MPI has also extended the deadlines for the forestry emissions trading scheme (ETS) for individuals affected by the flooding events in Auckland and Cyclones Hale and Gabrielle. This extension grants additional time to meet obligations and offers relief during this challenging period.

Efforts to address the aftermath of the cyclones and flooding have resulted in the collection of approximately 340,000m³ of silt by the Hastings District Council as of June 9. This collaborative work between local authorities and communities aims to restore normalcy to the affected regions.

The Moeangiangi bailey bridge opened on June 13, reconnecting the rural community of Putorino. This development symbolizes resilience and hope as the affected regions continue their recovery.

To support the rural community, the Hawke's Bay Rural Advisory Group organised its first Rural Recovery Workshop on June 13 in Wallingford. This workshop provided valuable information, advice, and support from industry experts and farming families who had previously experienced adverse events.

MPI attended the Funding Question and Answer session hosted by the Hawke's Bay Fruitgrowers' Association to address concerns of horticulture growers. This session followed the release of silt funding by the Hawke's Bay Regional Council, demonstrating the government's commitment to assisting agricultural sectors affected by recent events.

The Primary Sector Wellbeing Reference Group met at Fieldays to discuss strategies and prepare an expression of interest for the NIWE isolated and rural communities und.

Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment


Immigration New Zealand (INZ) has made significant progress in processing Recovery Visa applications, with 96% of them already decided. These applications have an average processing time of six weekdays, and approved ones take around five weekdays. Thirty-one applicants have recently arrived in New Zealand, and 29 new applications have been received.


The New Zealand Claims Resolution Service (NZCRS) is actively collaborating with individual insurers and the Insurance Council of New Zealand to address concerns regarding full and final insurance settlements. The aim is to achieve prompt resolutions that ensure fair outcomes for all parties involved.


To address temporary accommodation needs, the Temporary Accommodation Service (TAS) has implemented a policy allowing part-payment waivers and deferrals. Households staying in TAS accommodations awill now contribute a partial payment, while TAS covers the remaining cost. The pricing of temporary accommodation is determined based on the lowest quartile of market rent for the affected region, with a 10% reduction applied.

Labour market

The Civil Construction sector in Tairāwhiti is actively supporting the transition of forestry contractors to civil work. By aligning compliance regulations between the forestry and civil sectors, the process of redeploying workers has become more efficient, particularly in roading.

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Published: Jun 26, 2023, 4:27 PM