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Programme for flood recovery and rehabilitation

23 May 2005
Media Statement

Programme for flood recovery and rehabilitation

Prime Minister Helen Clark and Minister of Civil Defence George Hawkins announced today that the government will be appointing a recovery facilitator to work with the Whakatane District Council on an integrated assistance package to support rehabilitation and recovery at the flood devastated town of Matata.

The programme will need to cover recovery planning, stream diversions, clean-ups, and resurvey and land purchase as appropriate.

Helen Clark and George Hawkins said that Cabinet had received an update today on damage done by the floods in the Western and Eastern Bay of Plenty.

Both Helen Clark and George Hawkins have visited Tauranga and Matata in recent days.

"Cabinet noted that substantial emergency support has been made available in the affected areas through the New Zealand Defence Force, Police, Fire Service, St John and Civil Defence," Helen Clark said.

"Officials from the Department of Work and Income and Housing NZ have been on hand to support those affected by the floods, and representatives of the Earthquake Commission have also been on the scene. Claims lodged with EQC already exceed $10 million.

"Today Cabinet has agreed to remove the threshold for costs to be met for the Whakatane District Council's other response costs (category B) and recovery costs as specificed in the National Civil Defence plan for this event, taking into account that in the current financial year Whakatane District Council has also had to meet the costs of last July's major flood event.

"The Minister of Social Development and Employment has been given the power to activate enhanced Taskforce Green Schemes to support recovery and cleanup in the affected areas.

"The current agricultural recovery programme operating in the Eastern Bay of Plenty is being extended to include the Western Bay of Plenty for those farms which have been badly affected by this event, and the programme will run until the end of 2005.

"Consideration is being given to the need for additional areas of recovery assistance such as with help for housing, for those left homeless or with badly damaged homes.

"The total contribution of government into the mayoral relief funds for the three council areas affected by the floods will total $250,000," said Helen Clark.

Helen Clark and George Hawkins said that the government would also face significant costs in supporting the affected councils with the restoration of local roads and essential community infrastructure; and with the repair of state highways and rail lines.

ENDS

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