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Help for flood affected lower North Island

Wednesday 20 October 2004

More Government help for flood affected lower North Island

The Government has announced additional financial help of over $12m for lower North Island areas affected by last February's floods.

Agriculture Minister Jim Sutton and Civil Defence Minister George Hawkins today announced additional funding for Wellington and Manawatu-Wanganui Regional Councils affected by the floods.

Mr Hawkins said Cabinet has confirmed over $10 million for the Manawatu-Wanganui Regional Council to help repair flood protection and drainage schemes damaged by the floods.

Traditionally, the Government had provided assistance after costs were confirmed, but the Government was taking a flexible approach in helping the region recover, Mr Hawkins said.

"This time Government has agreed to provide this assistance based on estimates, with any shortfalls considered early next year," he said. The Government has also agreed to special funding of over $800,000 to support a catchment scheme for the Lower Kiwitea Stream, which last February washed away kilometers of farmers’ river bank erosion protection works, flooded paddocks and contributed to flooding in Fielding township.

Mr Sutton said the Government was impressed with a sustainable initiative developed by Council and farmers whereby a council-administered scheme would be developed rather than previous ad-hoc works restored.

Mr Hawkins said $669,000 to be paid to the Wellington Regional Council would cover costs relating to damage to Wairarapa river systems, and on the Hutt, Wainuiomata, Otaki and Waikanae rivers, damage to water supply assets at Kaitoke and Wainuiomata.

"The funding will also cover response costs incurred in providing emergency access to power and communication facilities," Mr Hawkins said. Today's announcement of additional funding comes on top of assistance already announced since February to help recovery from the February floods. Previously announced assistance, to affected people, councils, farms and other businesses, is estimated to cost the Government over $160m.

Further assistance is expected to be announced in the new year, after affected district councils have finished identifying their costs in repairing essential infrastructure.

ENDS


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