Minister headed to Gisborne to support community

Minister of Civil Defence Hon Kris Faafoi is travelling to Gisborne this afternoon to see what support the community needs to recover from the extreme weather hitting the area.

Mr Faafoi says that Tairāwhiti Civil Defence Emergency Management (CDEM) has been leading the response so far.

“Given how close the current weather has come after the heavy rain during Queens Birthday weekend we know that flooding is a major concern. Te Karaka is cut off for a period today and the Hikuwai and Waipaoa rivers have been slowly rising. These have now peaked and are slowly receding. Hikuwai river reached the same height as last week’s floods while Waipaoa exceeded last weeks height. 

“I understand that the families evacuated last week were moved out overnight as a precautionary measure and that no families are in the flood zone for the Hikuwai. Between 1 and 2,000 homes are without power and many roads are closed due to flooding – so this community really is bearing the brunt of this extreme weather.

“This is an evolving situation so I want to get to Gisborne and see for myself how things are and what ongoing Government support may be needed.”

Mr Faafoi is travelling to the Gisborne Emergency Coordination centre to be briefed and will, weather and roads permitting, travel to a flood-affected area.

Earlier this morning, Minister for Agriculture and Rural Communities Damien O’Connor and Associate Agriculture Minister Meka Whaitiri confirmed that flooding damage around the Tolaga Bay area of Gisborne meets the criteria for a medium scale event. This enables a range of recovery assistance measures that could be brought in. Minister of Defence Hon Ron Mark says the New Zealand Defence Force is ready to assist if required.

Metservice has forecast heavy rain and severe gales for parts of northern and central New Zealand over the next two days, including parts of Gisborne, where significant damage was caused from 200mm of rain falling in 24 hours a week ago.