Government agrees to boost support for Buller flood recovery

The Government has agreed an $8 million financial assistance package to help the Buller district to recover from last month’s severe flooding.

Acting Minister for Emergency Management, Kris Faafoi, said the package would provide financial security for the Buller District Council and enable it to continue with recovery operations while maintaining its “business as usual” services.

“This flooding event has profoundly affected many people and their families. People have lost their possessions, their homes are damaged, their livelihoods have been impacted, and their lives have been turned upside down,” Kris Faafoi said.

“This assistance will help support the recovery for those impacted communities throughout the Buller District,” he said.

Multiple government agencies have been working with Buller District Council to deliver services such as temporary accommodation, financial assistance, and mental health support.

July’s severe flooding event has seen nearly half the residents of Westport seeking council assistance. 463 houses in the district were flooded, and more than 200 houses remain uninhabitable and people still require alternative accommodation.  

Minister for Local Government, Nanaia Mahuta, said Buller District Council faced a number of challenges that warranted additional Government support.

“Having a small rating base, the Council cannot absorb the costs of the floods easily.

“The Council has worked incredibly hard to support its community through the flood response and clean-up, and we are committed to ensuring they can continue to support their community through what will be a long and challenging recovery,” Minister Mahuta said.

“I know this additional support will be greatly appreciated in the Buller district, where people are still very much bearing the brunt of this massive event,” West Coast Tasman MP Damien O’Connor said.

The $8 million financial assistance package will fund:

  • immediate costs associated with recovery
  • support for a community hub and navigation services so those affected can be supported to access services
  • assistance to support the Buller District Council and funding to purchase skilled advisory services to advise Ministers on the financial situation of the Buller District Council and other assurance that may be required.