Council grateful for government assistance
Mayor Meng Foon says it's a huge relief to have government support following the weather bomb event that caused widespread flooding and damage to parts of the East Coast in the last 2 weeks.
On Wednesday Ministers Damien O’Connor and Meka Whaitiri announced it was being deemed a “medium-scale adverse event” following a formal request for support from Council. This has triggered much needed financial support for the region.
“We are grateful to the minister and government for supporting the region. We have a lot of work to do in terms of keeping the community safe, repairs to bridges and roads and clearing of forestry slash,” Mayor Foon said.
“We appreciate that this immediate response from the government will lighten the burden on our community and help us to get on with the work that needs to be done. We are resilient – our residents and farmers are doing their best to manage but in terms of the large to medium-scale impact, the assistance is welcomed.
“I would also like to acknowledge the quick response from our local Minister Meka Whaitiri and MP Kiri Allan in coming to the district to view first-hand the devastation at the coal face and also the Minister for Civil Defence the Hon Kris Faafoi who is visited.”
The clean-up operation has been exacerbated by more heavy rain and high winds overnight, resulting in more road closures and flooding around the district.
Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said there would be discussions in cabinet about the issue of forestry slash.
"That's a wider issue that ministers are doing work on as we speak, and I think Minister Jones has made it really clear and rightly so that the priority has to be that we get the clean-up done, but we have to look at whether we are planting the right tree in the right place."
Classifying an adverse event as medium-scale means a range of recovery assistance measures can be brought in for the rural community. This can include:
- Resourcing for rural recovery co-ordination
- Resource for on-farm farm clean-up. This could involve the co-ordination of volunteers or the use of Enhanced Taskforce Green.
- A boost for the local Rural Support Trust to help serve their communities with pastoral care, including organising local events and arranging recovery facilitators who work one-to-one with farmers.
- Technology transfer activities and events.
Photo shows some of the flooding and forestry debris inland from Tolaga Bay.