Recovery plan launched to future-proof weather impacted regions

Social Development and Employment

The Government has today unveiled a plan to ensure greater coordination, provision of and access to support in regions affected by the extreme weather events earlier this year.

“We have a plan to make sure people’s needs will continue to be met as we recover from Cyclone Gabrielle, the Auckland flooding and other severe weather across the North Island,” Minister for Social Development and Employment Carmel Sepuloni said.

“We know that the psychosocial effects of disasters are very real and that most people who go through a disaster or extreme weather event have heightened stress and anxiety.

“On top of the mental health support announced already for affected regions, the Government will also provide support for volunteers and community workers suffering burnout, and personalised support and referral pathways for people who own land that has been classified as risk level Category 2 and 3.

“We are also putting further support in place for students who’ve missed school so they can catch up on lost learning, and education and training for providers to support whānau, rangatahi and tamariki with anxiety and mental wellbeing.

“The Government will also put in the resource needed to build the resilience, preparedness and strength of community and iwi organisations so that they’re prepared for future events.

“We have learnt lessons following the Canterbury earthquakes, the COVID-19 pandemic and the Buller floods and want to emphasise the importance of work focused on long-term recovery from large scale disasters.

“Having a plan is important, because it makes sure we are investing not only in the immediate recovery of these regions, but in the longer-term livelihoods of all those affected as well.

“Consultation has taken place so that agencies can understand the specific needs of each region. These insights were used to understand and inform where support was most needed so it can be delivered in the best, most efficient, and meaningful way going forward,” Carmel Sepuloni said.

This overarching recovery plan provides a framework for a coordinated cross-agency approach to social recovery, bringing together existing and new actions into a comprehensive package that responds to identified areas of need. Actions cover the next two years and are intended to support regional priorities and the delivery of regional recovery plans.

A tagged contingency of $30 million was secured through the Budget 2023 North Island Weather Events Response and Recovery Package and will be used to support implementation. The first round of contingency funding ($20.65m) will target support towards regions and population groups where existing levels of investment are not sufficient to meet emerging needs.