Enhanced Task Force Green for Gisborne

  • Hon Carmel Sepuloni
Social Development

The Minister for Social Development, Carmel Sepuloni, has announced further help for the Gisborne District, as it recovers from significant flood damage.

“Today I’ve activated Enhanced Taskforce Green, making $500,000 of funding available to help with the clean-up in Gisborne, particularly  in Tolaga Bay and Whangara.

“The flooding in early June damaged farms as well as homes. A number of roads and bridges in the area have been affected, and there is significant silt and forestry debris.

“The initial damage was compounded by further flooding a week later, resulting not only in more damage in the Tolaga Bay and Whangara areas, but also affecting the settlements and farming properties around Tikapa, Te Karaka, Ormond, Patutahi and Whatatutu.

“Government is already providing support in the form of Civil Defence payments financial grants, tax flexibility measures, rural recovery co-ordination and pastoral care.

“However it’s clear further support is required to help with the clean-up. We have heard from local groups and farmers that winter working conditions are making access difficult and slow.

“Taskforce teams will be helping to clear debris and silt build up, repair fences as well as help restore riverbank vegetation. There aren’t enough local resources to get this work done and we have the people capable of assisting.

“There may be other work that Enhanced Taskforce Green can help with as time goes on, which we can assess at the time," Carmel Sepuloni said.

Editor’s Note:

Early reports of the damage indicate that:

  • around 50 farms have been affected in the Tolaga Bay and Whangara areas, with damage ranging from moderate to significant. One or two properties may have severe damage
  • an estimated 35 roads will need remedial work
  • there are a number of river catchments such as Waiapu and Uawa that require restoration of the vegetation along the riverbanks   
  • coastal beaches have had trees and debris washing up onto shore
  • orchards in the western part of the region have been impacted
  • approximately 51 forestry workers are unable to work and have lost income. 

Enhanced Taskforce Green

When a significant adverse weather event or natural disaster occurs, ETFG can provide funding to employ jobseekers to assist with the clean-up. ETFG can also be used to hire or purchase equipment and clothing to enable the clean-up.

MSD’s primary role within ETFG is to provide funding for the programme and to monitor expenditure related to that funding. The day-to-day management of the work associated with ETFG lies with the affected territorial authority.

ETFG includes funding for:

  • the payment of full wages at the minimum wage for workers, and above the minimum wage for workers in a supervisory role, for a specific period of time under the programme
  • start-up grants for councils to assist with the administration of ETFG (up to $20,000)
  • the hire or purchase of personal safety and light equipment for workers, and the hire of transportation to take work crews to work sites