Thursday 24 August, 2023
Council and the Crown have reached an agreement on cyclone recovery cost-sharing arrangements. Council at its extra-ordinary meeting on Thursday 24 August accepted the offer subject to undertaking community consultation as required under the Local Government Act 2002.
The offer totalling $204million, was presented by Government to Council as part of a cost sharing arrangement for owners whose properties have been devastated by Cyclone Gabrielle and who are unable to return to their homes.
The figure includes investment into flood protection and additional investment and support into roading, on the condition that the offer must be accepted in its entirety.
Residential property owners will receive voluntary buyout offers which will be cost-shared by Council and Government.
The Government will contribute $15million with Council’s share funded through a 10-year interest free loan. Government and Council’s contributions will be “net” of any insurance proceedings.
The $204million agreement also includes $64million towards flood protection and investigation work in areas including Te Karaka, Tolaga Bay, Tokomaru and Makarika.
A further $125 million will go toward transport projects and programmes for our local roads.
Mayor Rehette Stoltz says the negotiation process has been intense and thorough.
“The negotiation team have pushed hard, which has resulted in an offer that provides wider benefits for our community.”
“While Government indicated that this has been a locally-led centrally supported process, Council is effectively implementing new government policy.
“We’ve had to undertake an enormous amount of work in order to be in the position we are in now.
“Our overarching goal has always been to ensure our communities are safe, connected and protected and we wanted to ensure that the people of Tairāwhiti aren’t left shouldering an impossibly heavy financial burden.
“We have been able to negotiate an interest-free loan over 10 years and further investment to protect and connect our region.”
“We’re grateful to the Government for supporting our region. However, more investment is still required for us to fully recover, and we look forward to further discussion with the Government in the coming months.”
“For those in our community whose properties are subject to the voluntary buyout process, this will empower them to make informed decisions and provide greater certainty about their future.
“There’s a great deal of work to do between now and when we can consult. We need to prepare and approve a consultation document so that our community knows what is being asked of them as this is a significant change for the Council. We also need to develop the buyout process and policy.”
We will be consulting in October in order to move the agreement forward.
“Once that consultation is finalised, we will be in a position to implement the next steps for the buyout process.
“In addition to this, the investment of $125million will go towards repairing our roading network to provide greater resilience to our network. This will provide our primary sectors with confidence in our region’s transport infrastructure and get our economy moving again.”
“What lies ahead will be a challenge to ensure we can address some of the funding shortfalls that will inevitably exist.”
“It’s still vital that as a region dealing with immense challenges such as the impact of weather events and our recovery programme, to work together collectively for the benefit of all those communities across the region.”