Weekly Update from the Cyclone Recovery Unit – 6 June 2023

Update from the Cyclone Recovery Unit

Latest news

Government to support councils with buyout and better severe weather protection

The Government has announced a series of measures to support councils in cyclone and flood-affected regions. One of the measures is to enter into a funding arrangement with councils to offer a voluntary buyout for owners of Category 3 designated properties.

Some details are to be worked through, such as the criteria for valuation of Category 3 properties, though the Government confirmed that the costs of the buyout will need to be shared between the government and councils.  The Government will also co-fund work needed to protect Category 2 designated properties to help them build flood protection and other resilience measures.

Minister for Cyclone Recovery Hon Grant Robertson confirmed the Cyclone Response Unit, Te Arawhiti, and local councils will run parallel processes engaging with Māori land interests and local iwi to ensure appropriate processes for whenua Māori.

The government will also continue working with sectors, such as horticulture, on possible support for commercial operators, and on regional plans that will provide overall support for recovery and rebuild.

Gisborne District and Hawke’s Bay release provisional categorization and welcomed Government support

Last week Gisborne District Council (GDC) and Hawke’s Bay’s councils began to update their residents about their indicative land categorisation decisions last week. The number of properties provisionally categorised as Category 2 is around 2,500 and Category 3 is around 230 in Hawke’s Bay.  GDC’s process centred on 17 residential properties assessed at Category 3.  As part of the recovery process, the councils said they are committed to communicating directly with their most impacted communities first.

Leaders in Hawke's Bay welcomed the announcement of land categorisations, which provides clarity for communities across the region who were severely impacted by Cyclone Gabrielle. Hawke’s Bay Councils have detailed information in their Land Categorisation Hub for property owners in flood-affected areas of the Hawke’s Bay.

Insurance Council welcomed Government support

The Insurance Council of New Zealand (ICNZ) also welcomed the next step in the recovery. ICNZ Chief Executive, Tim Grafton, said regardless of the category a property falls into, the insurance company will continue to work with the customer as normal on their insurance claim. For those customers that have been notified their property is in a Category 1 area, this will provide the certainty to proceed with their recovery.

Auckland Council will begin engagement in week of June 12th

Auckland Council confirmed they will begin communicating with homeowners affected by extreme weather from 12 June about their initial risk categorisation. Staff from the Auckland Recovery Office, and other teams around the council, have been working at pace to apply the government's risk categories to individual properties in Auckland since their risk framework was announced on 1 May.

From 12 June, the council will contact property owners identified through modeling as potentially high risk. The council will be asking those affected to provide more information about their property so they can accelerate individual risk assessments

NEMA encourages community groups to apply for Cyclone Gabrielle welfare reimbursement

NEMA is encouraging marae, iwi, and community organisations to apply for reimbursement funding before applications close at the end of this month. The Cyclone Gabrielle Welfare Support Grant is available to reimburse costs already incurred by these organisations to care for people who were affected, displaced, or isolated during the state of national emergency.

The grant recognises these organisations have used their own resources to fund their immediate response to Cyclone Gabrielle.  The eligibility criteria and application form are available here.

Questions and answers

How will people know which category their property is in?

Their council will contact them to let them know if your property is in an area that has been categorised as 1, 2, or 3.

Who is going to make decisions about what happens to category 2 and 3 risk areas?

Councils and central government are working together on the recovery. Councils have responsibility for regional recovery plans, including flood mitigation plans and will be responsible for making decisions about the categorisation of areas.

What if a person doesn’t want to leave?

Any buyout offers will be voluntary – they will be able to choose whether to accept it. However, given the safety risk associated with staying on some properties, in some circumstances people may no longer be able to continue living there. This is something they can discuss with their Council.

Where can I get support to help me deal with this?

There is a range of support still available for those who are affected by the aftermath of the extreme weather. This includes community and provider support funds, plus a food fund for community providers to refill their stocks and support demand from flood-affected households.

A list of social support is here.

The Temporary Accommodation Service continues to connect households in need with accessible accommodation while their home is repaired or rebuilt. More details are here.

Te Whatu Ora is helping people who have been displaced by the severe weather to get the health and wellbeing support they need. Find out more here.

Insurance companies are available to support their customers to progress their insurance claims. The Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment has also 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

Updates across government

Waka Kotahi

The Waikare Bailey bridge is now open, allowing unrestricted access on SH2 from Napier to Wairoa. Daylight restrictions have been lifted, and the road is open 24/7. The Hikuwai Bailey bridge is scheduled to open on 14 June, 2023. To bypass the damaged Hikuwai bridge, use a local road, and for the Mangahauini Gorge, use the constructed bypass. However, SH25A remains closed indefinitely. It has been decided that a bridge will be built to repair the 110m slip on SH25A. Tenders from the shortlisted candidates closed on 31 May, and a decision on the preferred tenderer will be made on June 2. Read more here.

Ministry for Primary Industries

Following the reopening of State Highway 2 between Napier and Wairoa, MPI's fisheries officers were able to visit the Māhia Peninsula for the first time since Cyclone Gabrielle. They observed that woody debris at Māhia Peninsula was causing access and safety issues for fishers. Horticulture New Zealand has provided guidelines to assist growers in Hawke's Bay with managing silt deposits and accidental discoveries on their properties. The Hawke's Bay Disaster Relief Trust has approved and paid $2.3 million in funding to support residents affected by the cyclone. Requests for support through the Rural Support Trust are increasing in Tararua, and the Tararua District Council has identified concerns regarding roading, bridges, telecommunications, and power continuity. Collaboration between Hawke's Bay councils, iwi, and industry bodies has led to the clearance of around 20,000 tonnes of woody debris, allowing the $10.15 million woody debris fund to be distributed quickly to those in need. Read more here.

Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment

Immigration New Zealand (INZ) has received a total of 2,335 Recovery Visa applications, with 91% of them already decided and the rest currently under assessment. INZ typically completes the processing of these applications within six weekdays. The Business Support Grants Programme for Cyclone Gabrielle has closed its applications, and final reports from Local Delivery Partners are expected by early June. The Temporary Accommodation Service (TAS) is actively implementing the part-payment requirement introduced on May 1, ensuring a fair and consistent process for cases where the part-payment may be unaffordable. Additionally, TAS is delivering five relocatable accommodation units to Wairoa this week, aiming to provide temporary housing assistance. Read more here.

One-page summaries

Published: Jun 6, 2023, 4:28 PM