• Jack Elder
Civil Defence

The Government has approved a further $87,600 for flood relief works for Ohura, the Minister of Civil Defence, Jack Elder announced today.

The money is to be used specifically for the development of partial stopbanks to protect most of the township from future floods. Last October Ohura was hit by the third flood in four months. It was also the 12th significant flood in 35 years.

Mr Elder said this latest payment will take total Government financial assistance for last October's flood damage to more than a million dollars. This funding is made up of $21,201 for immediate response expenditure, $20,000 for the appointment of a Recovery Coordinator, $10,000 from the Ministry of Food and Fibre for rural farm assistance, $522,223 for repairs and clean up of roads provided by Transit NZ, and $400,000 to repair school buildings and raise them above flood levels provided by the Department of Education.

The stopbank project is expected to cost $262,800 and will be paid for by the Ruapehu District Council, the Manawatu-Wanganui Regional Council and the government.

"This equal three way share recognises that local authorities have legislative responsibilities for flood mitigation - specifically the Manawatu-Wanganui Regional Council for river and flood management, and the Ruapehu District Council for land use management and hazard control," Mr Elder said. "It also recognises that where significant risk continues to exist, the Government is keen to ensure that effective long term solutions are put in place to ensure the safety and well-being of citizens.

"Local authorities need to recognise, and take seriously, their legislative responsibilities for flood management. Consequently, the Government has declined requests from the Ruapehu District Council for a further $240,550 as it does not meet Government criteria for funding which is set out in the National Civil Defence Plan.

"As part of Government's funding contribution, the Ruapehu District Council and Manawatu-Wanganui Regional Council will need to demonstrate a commitment to ensure ongoing maintenance of the stopbanks and river channel clearance works. The Ruapehu District Council will also be required to ensure that there is no further development or building within flood prone areas of Ohura township."