Government promises to bring more help to flooded lower north island

Prime Minister John Key and Civil Defence Minister Nikki Kaye had a tour of the affected areas and have talked with mayors as well as local MP Chester Borrows on the next steps.

Key said that damaged homes and roads will be the priority in the rehabilitation.

“I will need to go back and talk to the Finance Minister and Cabinet colleagues to see how much assistance we can make available … We have an emergency situation with Silver Fern Farms and 350 workers unable to get there so we need to address that,” he told reporters.

Kaye added that there will be an additions $50,000 for the Taranaki mayoral relief fund, and $10,000 more to the Westland Disaster Relief Fund.

“These funds, which are activated by local authorities, are typically used to address potential gaps by helping those unable to access support from other avenues, such as insurance,” she added.

The Horizons Regional Council’s estimate initial cost of the flood recovery is $120 million, and Kaye said that the government is likely to meet at least 60 per cent of this.

“We had an opportunity to first hand see the damage, and get a sense of the recovery programme that is required … I think what you can see is that the damage…on the farm, to roading and to the urban environment is greater than it was probably initially assessed,” he said.

Meanwhile, rehabilitation in the affected areas continue, despite the state of emergency remaining in Whanganui for the next seven days. Kaye highlighted that the following regions were the hardest hit: Taranaki, Whanganui, Rangitikei and Westland.

There are also a number of volunteer groups who have started with the clean-up in rural areas, but this is just the beginning of a long recovery process.

“We will need to go away now and work out what the next steps are from the Government’s point of view,” said Key.