Monday 28 March, 2022
The Prime Minister visited some of the worst-hit areas of the region to see for herself the damage and talk to those affected.
With her was fiancé Clarke Gayford, Minister for Emergency Management Kiri Allan, Tairāwhiti Civil Defence group controller David Wilson, Council chief executive Nedine Thatcher Swann, NEMA (National Emergency Management Agency) national controller Roger Ball and councillors Bill Burdett and Pat Seymour.
The crew visited residents who live on the hard-hit Arthur Street, including some of the uninhabitable homes, Hatea a Rangi School, and had an informal meeting with residents where Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern emphasised the importance of SH35 to the Coast. Ms Ardern then headed to the Maungahauini Bridge at Tokomaru Bay where she spoke to contractors.
Ms Thatcher Swann said residents had been most appreciative to see Ms Ardern at Tokomaru Bay.
“The Prime Minister assured them there would be ongoing support from the Government through the recovery and rebuild phase and would look to her ministerial colleagues and government departments to ensure they too were alongside to help with things like the EQC and insurance claims,” said Ms Thatcher Swann.
"It has been important to the community to receive those assurances". Ms Thatcher Swann said the tiredness of the community from dealing with multiple weather events, clean-ups and COVID was clear to see. “They are exhausted,” she said. “The Prime Minister was very reassuring and understanding for what everyone is going through. It meant a lot.”
It’s been a blustery night in Tairāwhiti but residents across the rohe will be breathing a sigh of relief to have a little reprieve from the rain, albeit there is a heavy rain watch in place for the next two days.
Contractors have continued their work across the region, with SH2 between Gisborne and Wairoa opened yesterday afternoon and hopes are high the road to Tiniroto will be open later today all things going well.
From left are Clarke Gayford, Hatea-a-rangi School principal Karla Kohatu, Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern and Tairāwhiti Civil Defence group controller David Wilson.