Weekly Update from the Cyclone Recovery Unit – 15 May 2023

Update from the Cyclone Recovery Unit

The Cyclone Recovery Unit 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.

This week’s update includes information about areas that have been assessed and fall into category 1-Repair in Hawke’s Bay. This signals the beginning of the process for the people of Hawke’s Bay to get on with repairs, and for residents in category 2 and 3 areas to learn more about the process ahead.

Category 1 areas in Hawke’s Bay will be announced 31 May, and engagement with property owners in areas that have been assessed for risk and fall into Category 2 - Rebuild and 3 - Move will commence in June for Hawke’s Bay, followed by Te Tairāwhiti and Tāmaki Makaurau Auckland.

Overall, the engagement led by local government will connect people in affected areas with central government as policies—and solutions for property owners—are developed. Once the engagement has taken place, those policies will be shaped and then in-depth consultation will follow to enable further feedback before Ministers make decisions and policies are implemented.

Over the coming weeks, this newsletter will break down each part of the process.

This week we have one-page updates from the Ministry for Primary Industries, MBIE and Waka Kotahi. You’ll find them attached.

New this week

Flood and Cyclone recovery package to rebuild and prepare

The Government has announced a billion dollar flood and cyclone recovery package as part of Budget 2023 that covers the basics of rebuilding roads, rail and schools while preparing for future events with a big investment in flood protection measures.
The Package includes funding to:

Treasury has estimated the damage from Cyclone Gabrielle and the Auckland Floods could range from $9 billion to $14.5 billion, second behind only the Canterbury earthquakes in terms of damage from natural disasters New Zealand has faced. Of this, $5 to $7.5 billion of damage is expected to relate to infrastructure owned by central and local government.

Learn more about the flood and cyclone recovery package.

Update on timelines for affected properties post Cyclone and flooding

The Cyclone Recovery Minister has set out the next steps for property assessments in areas affected by the severe weather events earlier this year.

Assessments on low risk properties in the Hawke’s Bay will be completed and allow local engagement to begin with affected homeowners by 31 May. This will allow people to settle with their insurance companies and get on with the job of repairing their properties.

Engagement with individuals and communities with Category 2 and 3 severely affected properties will begin in early June; outlining the process ahead and paving the way for consultation on specific outcomes for severely affected locations.

Decisions on the categories for those affected in Auckland will be on a similar timeline as Hawke’s Bay, and after discussions with stakeholders in Tairāwhiti, a different timeline will be agreed for them in the near future.

Learn more about the timelines for affected properties.

SH2 Bailey Bridge Napier-Wairoa

State Highway 2 between Wairoa and Napier reopened on the weekend with a Bailey bridge at Waikare Gorge.

Cyclone Gabrielle caused damage to almost 100 sites on this stretch of highway, including burying Devil’s Elbow in under two metres of silt, destroying the bridge over Waikare Gorge and cutting off the communities of north and south of Waikare Gorge.

The connection will be open daily 7am-6pm while road crews work on further repairs.

Learn more about the SH2 reopening.

State Highway 25a repair option announced

A bridge will be built to repair Coromandel’s State Highway 25a, it was announced last week.

Waka Kotahi has already engaged with the construction industry and started the procurement process. By early June, there will be a contractor ready to start construction, with completion estimated early next year.

Learn more about SH25a repair.

Forestry slash inquiry report released, funding for Hawke’s Bay and Tairāwhiti

The report of the Ministerial Inquiry into woody debris (including forestry slash) and sediment in Tairāwhiti/Gisborne and Wairoa has today been presented to the two lead ministers, David Parker and Peeni Henare.

Funding of $10.5m in Budget 2023 has been provided to local government to support the clean up of slash and debris in Hawke’s Bay and Tairāwhiti and implement short- to medium-term solutions.

There is also $25.2 million for the next four years to protect 21,000 hectares of hill country farmland across Aotearoa New Zealand

Learn more about slash and debris clean-up funding.

Ministers will consider the report and make further decisions on its recommendations. The report will immediately inform the current review of the National Environmental Standards on plantation forestry.

Learn more about the forestry slash inquiry report.

Review panel appointed for Orders in Council

The Government has appointed an independent review panel to oversee decisions made under the Severe Weather Emergency Recovery Legislation Act.

The Act means that some administrative timelines have been relaxed to allow local councils to get on with leading their cyclone recovery.

Led by retired Court of Appeal judge Hon Denis Clifford, the group will provide an important check and balance to the significant powers in the Act. They will be tasked with reviewing draft orders and providing advice to relevant Ministers.

Members of the panel have extensive experience and knowledge across local Māori communities, law, emergency management, local government, primary industries, and rural interests.

Learn more about the review panel and read on for information about Orders in Council

Orders in Council under the severe weather emergency legislation

The Severe Weather Emergency Recovery Legislation Act 2023 (the Act) came into force on 13 April 2023 (Severe Weather Emergency Legislation Act 2023 No 4, Public Act Contents – New Zealand Legislation).

As well as making urgent changes to statutes to enable recovery in the areas affected by recent weather events, the Act enabled the Governor-General to make Orders in Council to modify other statutes to remove red tape. Modifications are also permitted where necessary to enable prompt action for an efficient and timely recovery.

Attached are two fact sheets that explain the process for those in council and also the general public, explaining the reasons for the Act.

Recent Announcements

Support for silt and debris removal in Hawke’s Bay and Tairāwhiti

Funding has been allocated to help councils process and dispose of all the debris coming from residential properties, and to deal with sediment on council-land to make it available to the public again. There is also $70 million for commercial properties (including farmers and growers) to help clean up their land and return to profit, and there is funding for debris and sediment removal from whenua Māori.

Based on official advice, within the funding for councils and commercial properties, $133.2 million has been allocated for Hawke’s Bay and $38.8 million for Tairāwhiti and the whenua Māori

Read the full release

Finding Support

Communities and People

Community groups and contracted social sector providers of food and other supports, including services for disabled people have mobilised quickly to support people, families and communities affected by the recent North Island floods and Cyclone Gabrielle. The increase in demand for this support is putting a strain on services and community-led initiatives.

There is a Community Support Package that aims to relieve some of this pressure so community groups and contracted providers can continue to deliver their response and recovery efforts for people, whānau and communities.

Community Support Package for people impacted by North Island floods and Cyclone Gabrielle - Ministry of Social Development (msd.govt.nz) 

The Temporary Accommodation Service is supporting those who have been displaced. 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. New Zealand Claims Resolution Service (nzcrs.govt.nz)


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.

Cyclone and flood recovery for businesses — business.govt.nz

Employer support for Cyclone Gabrielle in Tairāwhiti and Hawke's Bay - Work and Income

Support for Māori

Te Puni Kōkiri is distributing $9m of the $15m allocated to support Māori recover from Cyclone Gabrielle through the Cyclone Gabrielle Māori Communities Response Fund providing:

  • Capacity support such as relief staffing, clean-up expenses, generators and communication equipment
  • Recovery planning and co-ordination funds
  • Marae infrastructure and support funds such as securing temporary storage for taonga and food.

At the end of April 2023, $7.84m has been committed, is being processed or is under discussion across affected regions of Ikaroā-Rāwhiti – Takitimu, Ikaroā-Rāwhiti – Tairāwhiti, Te Tai Tokerau, Tāmaki-Makarau and Waikato-Waiariki.

Te Puni Kōkiri kaimahi are also helping whānau identify and connect into other recovery focused government funds. The Ministry has an important role in times like these, to support other agencies to understand and reflect the needs of whānau Māori in their recovery approaches.

For enquiries about Te Puni Kōkiri funding in cyclone affected regions contact a Te Puni Kōkiri regional office.

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 Gabriell
  • 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
  • $133.2 million for Hawke’s Bay and $38.8 million for Tairāwhiti to remove silt from residential, commercial properties and whenua Māori.
  • $275 million for Waka Kotahi and local councils to repair affected roads
  • $200m to repair railways
  • $117 million to repair, re-develop or relocate schools affected by the severe weather
  • $100 million in flood protection to prevent future flooding
  • $35 million for mental health initiatives
  • $10.5 million to remove slash and debris in Hawke’s Bay and Tairāwhiti

One-page summaries

Published: May 15, 2023, 2:18 PM