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Further relief measures for the Bay of Plenty

4 August 2004

Further relief measures for the Bay of Plenty

More help from the Government is available for people affected by the recent floods, earthquakes, and landslides in the Bay of Plenty, Agriculture Minister Jim Sutton, Social Development Minister Steve Maharey, and Civil Defence Minister George Hawkins said today.

Ministers approved an additional package of measures today, including agricultural recovery, repairing schools, fixing roads and giving direct help to low income earners and people who had to be evacuated.

This brings the total Government support to an estimated $30 million.

Mr Hawkins said there will be further support added to this later, when other response costs and Council infrastructure repair costs are known.

"The Government has worked with Whakatane and Opotiki District Councils and voluntary, farming and business groups to identify what help is needed to support these areas in their recovery work."

Mr Sutton said the floods had been a major disaster for the eastern Bay of Plenty region. They had dealt a serious blow to economic infrastructure and caused devastation to communities.

"The Government is under no illusion as to the severity of the event. The flooding caused widespread damage to roads, bridges and other infrastructure, devastated farms and other rural activities, ruined houses and threatened the livelihoods of many people."

Mr Maharey, visiting the Bay of Plenty today, said that at the peak of the flood approximately 12,000 hectares of land were flooded. There are approximately 3,200 evacuees, but none remain in evacuation centres. It is estimated that 210 homes have been flooded or affected by landslides in the Bay of Plenty and of these 188 are unsuitable for occupation, at least in the short term. A few are likely to be condemned.

ENDS

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