Weekly Update from the Cyclone Recovery Unit - 3 July 2023

Update from the Cyclone Recovery Unit

Latest news

Cost share negotiations continue between Government and councils

Government officials and local councils are continuing discussions to determine how the cost of purchasing high-risk properties will be shared.

It has been agreed that more time is required to work through the policy and parameters, and to make final decisions on how properties will be categorised. This includes which homeowners will be offered a voluntary buy out.

The Government had expected to have details of the cost-sharing arrangements resolved in June. However, progress is taking longer than the Government hoped. The aim is to have agreement on these arrangements by the end of July.

New support package for North Island businesses affected by weather events

To assist growers, farmers and businesses impacted by the severe weather events in the North Island earlier this year, a support package has been announced by government.

The package comprises the NIWE Loan Guarantee Scheme, providing concessionary loan and equity finance access targeted at viable firms unable to access lending. Lenders can refinance existing loans under the guarantee and issue new loans under the guarantee.

For affected farmers and growers, the package also includes the Primary Producer Finance Scheme, which provides support to help them access needed capital from lenders.

Government Inquiry announced into response to the 2023 North Island severe weather events

The Minister for Emergency Management has announced a comprehensive inquiry into the response to the North Island weather events. The inquiry aims to assess the actions taken and the design of the Emergency Management system and incorporate lessons into future emergency management. The inquiry will be led by former Governor-General Sir Jerry Mateparae.

At the same time, the National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA) is conducting its own internal After-Action Review (AAR) to evaluate its role and actions during the response and early recovery phases of the severe weather events. NEMA's AAR is distinct from the Government's inquiry, however the insights gained from the Agency's internal review will be used as input into the wider government inquiry.

Ministry of Transport opens engagement on proposed Orders in Council under severe weather emergency legislation

Te Manatū Waka - the Ministry of Transport has initiated an engagement process on  proposed Orders in Council under the newly enacted Severe Weather Emergency Recovery Legislation Act 2023. These Orders aim to expedite and streamline the restoration efforts for state highways and rail networks in areas impacted by Cyclone Gabrielle and subsequent severe weather events.

The Ministry has proposed temporary law changes to amend the Land Transport Management Act 2003 (LTMA) to simplify certain planning and funding approvals, to facilitate recovery efforts within the legal road boundaries, and to support recovery and reconstruction projects by KiwiRail, specifically focusing on realignment endeavors at two locations: Awatoto and Esk Valley.

The Ministry has an engagement document on its website, inviting the public to participate in the process. If you would like to provide feedback, email transportrecovery@transport.govt.nz by Tuesday 11 July 2023.

Deadline extended for Cyclone Gabrielle Welfare Support Grant

The deadline for applications to the Cyclone Gabrielle Welfare Support Grant has been extended to 31 August.

The grant is a time-limited government fund administered by NEMA (National Emergency Management Agency). It aims to reimburse emergency costs incurred by community organisations, local iwi and others that supported people during the state of national emergency caused by Cyclone Gabrielle.

The application process, including eligibility, can be completed online.

Funding initiative supports silt removal from whenua Māori

The Government has announced additional support to assist in the removal of sediment and debris from whenua Māori (Māori land) in Tairāwhiti and Hawke’s Bay. This follows on from $172 million in funding the Government provided directly to councils announced in May to help landowners and local communities with their immediate clean up.

Around $30 million funding will be provided through grants to help owners of whenua Māori cover the costs associated with the clean-up process. Eligibility extends to owners who have already completed the clean-up or are currently engaged in that work.

For information on how to apply, whenua Māori owners within Tairāwhiti and Hawke’s Bay should contact the Whenua Māori Service team at their nearest Te Puni Kōkiri regional office or email SedimentandDebrisWhenua@tpk.govt.nz

Mental health support available

Going through a natural disaster can be stressful and scary. Those affected may be feeling anxious, overwhelmed, tired, angry, hōhā, sad, or something else entirely. These feeling are perfectly normal. Regaining a sense of control in little ways can make people feel a lot better and help us look after ourselves and our loved ones.  The Mental Health Foundation with Te Whatu Ora have tips for coping after a natural disaster and where to get help through their All-Sorts campaign. If you or someone you know is struggling, free help is also available. You can call or text 1737, text Youthline at 234, or check this list of other helplines.

Updates across government

Waka Kotahi

Recent wet weather has caused further impacts to the roading network in Northland, Tairāwhiti and Hawke’s Bay, where 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.

Waka Kotahi is working with its preferred tender party and enabling works have commenced. Waka Kotahi estimates that the road will re-open in March 2024.

Ministry for Primary Industries

Log exports

The log export market is anticipated to improve after September, which may have a continuing impact on companies already facing difficulties in the current economic climate.

North Island Weather Event (NIWE) Fund

MPI has received 70 expressions of interest for their two different funds.

Sediment and Silt Recovery Fund

As of June 21, 2023 the Sediment and Silt Recovery Fund in Hawke's Bay has received 65 completed applications, amounting to a total request of $6.2 million, with an additional 119 applications in progress. Out of the completed applications, nine are being considered for funding decisions, while 46 applications are currently under assessment.

Kumara Seed Contingency Plan

The Kumara Seed Contingency Plan ensures that all kumara (sweet potato) have been harvested, and growers will have at least 77% of the required seed for the next planting season.

Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment

Building placards

There are currently 4,540 buildings with white placards, 3,348 with yellow placards and 493 with red placards.

Visa applications

There have been 1,346 approved recovery visa applications, 1,027 workers have arrived and 969 applications have been declined. A total of 2,465 recovery visa applications have been received.

Temporary accommodation

There are 2,741 registered households in temporary accommodation.

One-page summaries

Published: Jul 3, 2023, 4:04 PM