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Waikato Gets $23.8m From Government COVID-19 Recovery Fund For Climate Resilience Projects

Waikato Regional Council has secured $23.8 million from the Government for 10 flood protection and catchment projects.

Yesterday, Deputy Prime Minister Winston Peters and Infrastructure Minister Shane Jones unveiled funding of $103.7 million for climate resilience projects across New Zealand to help kickstart recovery from COVID-19.

Mr Peters said climate change posed a real danger to the regions through extreme weather events, coastal inundation, and the associated problems such as erosion, flooding and the destruction of infrastructure.

“This has a negative impact on those regional economies and their productivity. It is imperative that we are providing our regions with the resources they need to protect against these issues. And in these uncertain times, this funding will stimulate regional economies and get people into work.”

The $23.8 million received by council for work in the Waikato will contribute towards the following projects:

· Completion of Muggeridge’s pump station

· Replacing five pumps to allow for safe fish passage

· River works and erosion protection in the catchments of Lake Waikare

· Upgrading the east and west foreshore stopbanks in the Hauraki Plains

· Upgrading the Mill Road pump station which protects Paeroa

· Upgrading the Piako scheme’s right stopbanks

· Building a replacement barge for use in river and flood protection maintenance

· Upgrading the Roger Harris pump station which also protects Paeroa

· Upgrading Ngatea’s stopbanks

· Restoring the lake level at Lake Kimihia.

These projects are expected to create more than 200 short and long-term jobs over their lifetime.

Waikato Regional Council chair Russ Rimmington said flood protection was one of the top priorities for the council among its bids for shovel ready funding because its schemes safeguard 3000km2 of high value food-producing land and protect services and infrastructure such as water supply, power, telecommunications, and road and rail networks. Improving flood protection is a critical first step in climate change adaptation action.

“Everyone benefits from flood protection even if you live up on a hill.

“These assets urgently need work because many were put in 50-60 years ago and they weren’t built to meet the variety of modern standards and expectations that are now critical to operations today.”

Councillor Stu Husband, chair of River and Catchment Committee, said it was good to see the Government recognised the need to co-invest in council-led community flood protection projects.

“Most of our assets were initially put in and paid for by the Government and we inherited them, along with the cost of upgrades and maintenance.

“Flood protection is a great expense for our targeted ratepayers – and we now have higher construction costs, and greater environmental standards and new health and safety regulations to adhere to which all costs more money.

“This funding is win-win – we will increase the resilience of our communities to floods but it’s also about environmental sustainability, so a number of these projects will also have ecological benefits associated with them.”

The regional council has already received $5.5m from the Government for Jobs for Nature projects to help with recovery from COVID-19.

To find out more about the specific projects the regional council has received government funding for go to https://www.waikatoregion.govt.nz/shovel-ready-projects.

© Scoop Media

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