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Government Makes $12 Million Available For Silt; Regional Council Says Work Will End Next Week

The Hawke’s Bay Regional Council says that Government has made $12 million of funding available for the Silt Recovery Taskforce, however clean-up work will continue to slow down and stop at the end of this month.

Today, the Prime Minister Chris Hipkins said that they had reallocated $12 million of funding to the taskforce to allow it to continue its work clearing silt and debris and make sure productive land is available for the upcoming planting season.

Regional Council Chair Hinewai Ormsby says, “We understand the Government has reallocated funding from the Commercial Category Fund to the Local Authority Fund, but this still means that our silt and debris recovery work will continue to slow down, and will stop next Friday, 29 September.

"The taskforce has cleared nearly 900,000 cubic metres of silt, but there is still an enormous amount of work needed to clear over 1 million cubic metres of silt, and hundreds of thousands of tonnes of waste and debris," she said.

"We will continue to advocate to Government for additional funding to collect silt and debris through until the next planting season. The cost of this is estimated to be $80 million. We understand Ministers are urgently exploring options to provide further funding.”

Silt Recovery Taskforce Lead Darren de Klerk says the reallocation of funding confirms the discussions had with Government officials for some months.

“Unfortunately, the $12m reallocation won’t allow us to continue works into October 2023, but rather allows us to honour the commitments we have made with contractors and landowners to date to collect and manage sediment and debris.”

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The taskforce is a significant operation that is dealing with huge volumes of waste as a result of the Cyclone. “Growers are racing to get planting and spraying done for the upcoming season, and so we can’t over-stress the importance of further funding to support our landowners and our economy,” he said.

“We ask that landowners to continue to log jobs so we can understand the full picture of work remaining.”

As of Wednesday 20 September, the taskforce had 845 jobs logged, with 238 still outstanding for silt collection, and a further 233 jobs requiring waste and wood debris collections.

The taskforce has completed about 50 percent of jobs logged to date, but are aware further jobs will be logged as landowners continue to clean up their properties.

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