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Task Force Green workers to begin clean-up

October 27, 2005

Task Force Green workers to begin clean-up operation

Two teams of Enhanced Task Force Green workers will start the big clean-up on the Tolaga Bay and Gisborne Flats early next week after last Friday’s flooding wreaked havoc in the region.

The scheme approved this afternoon will provide jobs for about 24 beneficiaries over the next two months to clean up silt, dig drains and fix fences.

Gisborne Civil Defence Emergency Management Group recovery manager John Clarke says farmers are already getting on with the clean-up but it is hoped workers will be on the ground by Tuesday if not before.

Meanwhile, new Minister of Agriculture Jim Anderton has confirmed he will spend a day in the region on Sunday to gain a better insight into the effects of the flooding.

“We are very appreciative of the effort Mr Anderton has made to rejig his schedule, particularly when it’s early days of his new portfolio, to see for himself the level of land affected and individual loss.

“We will outline the event and detail the flow-on impact to the community through reduced employment, reduced returns to producers and reduced money flowing through to the local economy. We will also discuss the types of initiatives we think the Government could take to assist the sector to recover.”

Mr Anderton will be flown by helicopter to Tolaga Bay on Sunday morning where he will meet with individual landowners. He will return to Gisborne for lunch at a local winery and later meet affected farmers on the Flats.

“Mr Anderton is expected to report to Cabinet on Monday so it is very important he leaves Gisborne with a clear picture of the flooding’s impact on the region.” Mr Clarke says he greatly appreciated the assistance from Gisborne professionals and Vegfed representatives visiting Gisborne today and tomorrow.

“The Vegfed people were involved in the Manawatu and Bay of Plenty flooding and their experience is invaluable.” Over 50 surveys had been returned to the recovery team late this afternoon detailing individual loss. More information on the land affected and financial impact will be available tomorrow morning.

Housing NZ is assessing temporary accommodation for a Tolaga Bay family of four, half of the eight people yet to return to their homes after the flooding. Three people from Ruatoria and an elderly Tolaga Bay woman are believed to be staying with family or friends.

ENDS

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