Central and Local Government contribute to managed retreat at Matatā

  • Hon Nanaia Mahuta
Local Government

In 2005 a debris flow devastated the Matatā community and now 14 years later some residents are still exposed to an unacceptably high level of risk to their lives, the Minister of Local Government Hon Nanaia Mahuta says.

“This is not an acceptable situation and the Government has worked closely with the local authorities to find a just and enduring solution.”

Today’s announcement from the Government  commits one third or a $5 million contribution to enable residents to move out of an area at Matatā in the Bay of Plenty highly exposed to destructive debris flows. Two thirds of the remaining amount totalling $10m will be co-funded by the Whakatāne District Council and the Bay of Plenty Regional Council.

The Whakatāne District Council has done considerable work to manage the risk at Matatā from another debris flow. Engineering solutions have been considered but found to be impractical.

“A voluntary managed retreat from the area is believed to be the best option. This will enable residents to get on with their lives and end the uncertainty which has now prevailed for 14 years,” Hon Nanaia Mahuta says.

The Whakatāne District Council will facilitate the implementation of the voluntary managed retreat, dealing directly with the affected residents.

Whakatāne Mayor Tony Bonne said that there has been considerable work with the Matatā community to find a fair solution.

“I am grateful that today’s announcement will enable property owners the opportunity to move forward with their lives. The Government’s support matched with funding from the Whakatāne District Council and the Bay of Plenty Regional Council offers fair recompense and the ability to progress a managed retreat process.”

“New Zealand is highly exposed to a range of natural hazards including those which can cause tragic loss of life”, Nanaia Mahuta says.

“This is a specific solution that has taken into account a significant amount of work undertaken by Whakatāne District Council and further co-operation with the Bay of Plenty Regional Council to enable this to happen.

“Today’s announcement underscores the Government’s commitment to working closely with local government to find practical and timely solutions to the challenges we face,” says Nanaia Mahuta.