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Flood relief is being treated with urgency

24 May, 2005

Flood relief is being treated with urgency

The people of the Bay of Plenty can be assured that the Government is treating their plight with the greatest urgency, Civil Defence Minister George Hawkins said today.

Mr Hawkins was responding to accusations from local National MP Tony Ryall that Government agencies weren't committed to dealing with the region's flood damage.

"Substantial emergency support was made available from day one of the disaster and this will likely amount to between 30 and 40 million dollars," said Mr Hawkins.

"Both the Prime Minister and myself have made visits to the region and Cabinet is fully supportive of the need for urgent and ongoing assistance.

"Meanwhile, help continues to be made available through the New Zealand Defence Force, Police, Fire Service, Civil Defence, Taskforce Green, Work and Income, Housing NZ and the Earthquake Commission.

"Mr Ryall might dismiss these agencies as 'bureaucrats' but I am proud of the way they've responded so quickly and efficiently to this disaster," Mr Hawkins said.

"Likewise, the facilitator we're appointing to work with the Whakatane District Council on an assistance package for Matata will expedite help to those so badly affected.

"The assistance package will reduce the need for time-consuming, complex claims down the track. For example, Government received the claim from Whakatane District Council for last July's floods only two weeks ago.

"I would have hoped the Bay of Plenty MP would have been working constructively for his constituents at such a time, instead of trying to score the cheapest of political points by trying to sow the seeds of more misery in his electorate."

ENDS

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