$1 million to help Tasman fire recovery

The Lottery Grants Board (Board) has agreed to allocate up to $1 million to the Tasman Mayoral Disaster Relief Fund, Internal Affairs Minister Tracey Martin announced today.

“The contribution will help the Tasman community in their recovery effort from the devastating fires,” says Minister Martin, the Presiding Member of the Lottery Grants Board.

Ms Martin, who is also the Minister responsible for Fire and Emergency New Zealand (FENZ), visited the fires in March and met with FENZ staff and others involved in the fire fighting and community support.

“What struck me was the scale of the devastation and the huge perimeter and earthworks required to try and contain it,” she said. “The Fire and Emergency Tasman-Marlborough Area Commander Grant Haywood said to me that he felt the organisation had a moral responsibility to help landowners who had been affected by the creation of the fire breaks.

“I agreed with him. Obviously stopping the fire was the priority at the time, but that doesn’t mean that landowners should have to bear all of this damage and cost.

“What brought this position into even more perspective was seeing the damage done to a farm owned by one of the volunteer firefighters involved in battling the blaze.”

The Minister said she sought Lottery Grants board support for the release of Board funding for the Tasman Fire recovery. The Board responded positively and quickly to this request and the money will be made available through the Lottery Minister’s Discretionary Fund.

The Department of Internal Affairs (who administer Lottery funding) will now work with the Tasman District Council on how the Lottery funding can be distributed for the benefit of the Tasman community impacted by the fires.

The Lottery funding will be available for community benefit purposes. This may include repairs to community facilities, support to community organisations and repair damaged land from cutting of the fire breaks.

“The Government knows that more assistance may be required and will continue to talk to the community and look at options for assistance,” the Minister said.

“Our thoughts continue to be with the community as they work to recover from the devastating event.”