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$650,000 flood aid for local councils

$650,000 flood aid for local councils

Civil Defence Minister George Hawkins today announced $650,000 would be advanced to lower North Island Councils hit by recent flooding.

It would be the first time a Government had advanced funds to councils for emergency relief rather than reimbursing them later, Mr Hawkins said.

"In the past Councils had to wait and tot up their costs after an event before sending the bill to the Government. This way, Councils have money in the hand for their response costs right now," Mr Hawkins said.

The $650,000 package would be divided as follows: South Taranaki District Council would receive $50,000 Wanganui District $75,000 Rangitikei District Council $200,000 Manawatu District Council $150,000 Horowhenua District Council $75,000 Horizons Manawatu-Wanganui $100,000.

As well, Manawatu and Rangitikei Mayoral Relief Funds would each receive an extra $100,000 on top of the $20,000 each Fund received last week.

Mr Hawkins today met Mayors in Waverley and Marton to announce the extra assistance. It was the Minister's fifth visit to the Manawatu-Rangitikei area in seven days, including accompanying the Prime Minister to the area last Wednesday. Yesterday Mr Hawkins visited flood-hit areas in Picton-Marlborough.

No-one could know the extent of the flood's final bill, but the Government had said many times restoration would be expensive..

In the meantime, Government assistance to flood-stricken areas had been both swift and comprehensive, Mr Hawkins said.

This included: Government agencies, including Health, Work and Income, MAF, Housing and Te Puni Kokiri, co-ordinating activities with Civil Defence and Emergency Management (CDEM) groups’ regional recovery activities in problem areas A 'one stop shop' approach to accessing government agency help Activation of Task Force Green Scheme to provide cleanup support where needed The appointment by the Ministry of Agriculture and Forests (MAF) of Agricultural Co-ordinators Provision by MAF of technical and consulting assistance in the form of advice to farmers for the rural sector where appropriate Activation of the MAF Rural Sector Assistance Special Needs Grants and Rural Support Trust Counseling for farmers and their families where required MAF asked to assess the extent of problems in the rural areas and the resources needed to achieve rural recovery. MCDEM to co-ordinate that information with data from CDEM groups and utilities.

Mr Hawkins said local councils had reported the recovery phase of the event was now underway.

"Mayor Bob Buchanan today expressed his appreciation for the help his area had received, particular from DOC, Defence, the Fire Service, WINZ, Housing New Zealand and many hundreds of volunteers, " Mr Hawkins said.

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