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Ministry for the Environment helps Tairāwhiti recover

Friday 12 May, 2023

Mayor Rehette Stoltz says Gisborne District Council will provide regular community updates around progress being made using the $38.8 million in funding from the Ministry for the Environment (MfE).

“Back in March, Council asked MfE for help to clean up the land, safeguard our region’s infrastructure and build capability for our region.”

Tairāwhiti thanks the Government for its investment to help our region remove sediment and debris, says Mayor Rehette Stoltz.

“This funding means a lot to our communities and will go towards initiatives that ensure our people and communities are safe, protected and connected.”

The Government is expected to announce details about the first payment today. The funding will address issues related to sediment and debris arising from flooding.

Mayor Stoltz says the first priority is to ensure communities are safe.

“Our plan is to remove debris from areas that place infrastructure at risk, such as our water supply, bridges and roads.

“Council’s developing an approach to achieve this. It’s a complex issue and it will take time.

“We also need to ensure our infrastructure is safeguarded into the future because we know these intense rain events are increasing in frequency.”

Mayor Stoltz says it’s also important to look at ways this region can process sediment and debris here.

“We need that capability for future generations. It makes sense to invest in initiatives that allow processing to happen in Tairāwhiti.”

Mayor Stoltz says there were also certain specifics around what the funding won’t cover.

“It won’t be for the stabilisation and clean-up of landslides and erosion, or to remove sediment under residential homes as there are alternative funding streams available for those.

Our website has all the information if you still have sediment under your home that is causing issues.”

Mayor Stoltz says Council’s initial bid to MfE was for $61 million.

“This was so Council could buy land and equipment to process sediment and debris on site before it was removed and recycled.

“While the amount received is less than what was requested, it will nonetheless go a long way towards achieving what we need to do.

“Council will need to look at how to achieve these outcomes within this new budget.”

The Government’s funding was split into two streams.

$31.4M was for Tairāwhiti region to remove sediment and debris from the land. An Expression Of Interest (EOI) will be notified on the council website by the end of the month with more detail.

$7.4M has been allocated to commercial properties in Tairāwhiti. The details for businesses around how to apply are yet to be confirmed.