Further boost for Wairoa Mayoral Relief Fund

The Government is providing a further $500,000 to the Wairoa Mayoral Relief Fund to help the community following flooding last week, Emergency Management and Recovery Minister Mark Mitchell announced during a visit to the district today.

“I have been back on the ground in Wairoa today to get a further sense of the impacts and recovery operations, and to meet with affected community members and the people providing support.

“Last week’s flooding has been really tough for Wairoa, particularly following the impacts of other severe weather events in the past couple of years, and the District Council have indicated that they require financial support to clean up damaged properties.

“Today’s additional contribution to the Mayoral Relief Fund will provide support for the community’s immediate and pressing needs, such as section clean ups, replacing clothes and bedding, and the hire and purchase of drying and dehumidifying equipment.

“I’d like to acknowledge the efforts and dedication of volunteers, civil defence and council, emergency services, iwi, contractors and everyone who is supporting the Wairoa community.

“Thank you for the work you are doing – it has been heartening to see how strong our communities are when we stand together,” says Mr Mitchell.

Environment Minister Penny Simmonds said a qualified independent reviewer will lead an urgent and targeted review into the flood response.

“Significant concerns have been raised by the Wairoa community about the management of the Wairoa River bar by the Hawke’s Bay Regional Council and the impact this had on flooding of properties in the district,” says Ms Simmonds.

“This review will look at whether there was adequate monitoring of the state of the Wairoa River bar; whether correct decisions were made in a timely way; and whether there were any other actions that could have been taken.

“It is about finding out where improvements can be made so we can better manage future events and protect communities.”

The review is expected to take around four weeks, with findings and recommendations to be presented to the Hawke’s Bay Regional Council and Wairoa District Council in August.

Notes to editors:

Mayoral Relief Funds are intended to help fill gaps quickly where an immediate need exists.

The funds are not a replacement for insurance and costs covered by other funding sources. The funds are in addition to other support that may be available from other agencies such as the Ministry of Social Development and Ministry for Primary Industries.

Media contacts: 

Mark Mitchell: Fleur Thompson, +64 21 895 619

Penny Simmonds: Amy Stapleton, +64 21 890 692