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Budget Blunder Shows Nicola Willis Could Cut Recovery Funding

It appears Nicola Willis is about to pull the rug out from under the feet of local communities still dealing with the aftermath of last year’s severe weather, and local councils relying on funding to build back from these disasters.

It’s been revealed that Treasury produced a report for Nicola Willis earlier this year titled ‘Discontinuation of the National Resilience Plan’. This is the $6 billion fund that was put in place to support local communities and councils after Cyclone Gabrielle, the Auckland floods and other severe weather.

“Local communities are relying on this funding to protect them from future events,” Labour finance and infrastructure spokesperson Barbara Edmonds.

“The Finance Minister now appears to be removing that certainty, meaning future proofing road, rail, and local infrastructure wiped out by the extreme weather, as well as telecommunications and electricity transmission infrastructure could all be at risk.

“This is the complete opposite of what a responsible Government should be doing.

“Christopher Luxon stood alongside communities in Hawkes’ Bay during the election campaign telling them the National Party was committed to rebuilding and that momentum would continue. They must explain to councils and to ratepayers where the money will come from, if not from Government.

“It’d be another blow for local councils, and mean ratepayers would have to foot the bill yet again. First it was water services thrown back onto councils that can’t afford it, now they might have to pay to prepare for severe weather, and for recovery after it hits. It shows a Government that is not serious about the big challenges and would rather pass the buck onto local councils.

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“Nicola Willis should front up about the ‘range of advice’ the Government is considering. It creates huge uncertainly for New Zealand’s infrastructure pipeline and shows a worrying lack of commitment to New Zealand’s future resilience.

“On the day a report is released into failures in the system during these severe weather events, it’s revealed the Government could be sacrificing the recovery, most likely to pay for their hugely expensive and irresponsible tax cuts,” Barbara Edmonds said.

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