Govt gives extra $400k in wake of floods

Work being done on the Waiho bridge following the March floods. Photo: Supplied via RNZ
Work being done on the Waiho bridge following the March floods. Photo: Supplied via RNZ
The Government has announced it will provide an extra $400,000 to help West Coasters recover from the devastating March floods.

Significant March rainfall resulted in flooding, road closures and slips across the West Coast, and prompted evacuations in the Waitoto area.

The Waiho bridge at Franz Josef was washed away on March 26, cutting off State Highway 6 to the south of the town, and phone and internet services to Fox Glacier. One person lost their life.

The additional funding included $200,000 from the Department of Conservation to support rubbish clean-up from the Fox River landfill, $100,000 from the Ministry for the Environment for river clean-up, a $75,000 contribution to the Mayoral relief fund, and $30,000 for rural support trusts.

Conservation Minister Eugenie Sage said Doc was committed to provide a further $200,000 worth of support, as well as keeping two staff full time on the incident management team.

"$200,000 in DOC funding will  provide the logistical and practical support needed to properly clean-up the rubbish washed out from the Westland District Council’s Fox River landfill. 

"This support is on top of the $130,000 in staff time, helicopter time and other support Doc has already provided to support the council with clean-up efforts."

Environment Minister David Parker was also making $100,000 available for the river clean-up from the Contaminated Sites Remediation Fund.

"The Government acknowledges the scale of the clean-up required and financial costs involved for the local community. Although the site is not on the fund’s priority list, in this instance we think it is appropriate for clean-up support to be provided.”

Minister of Civil Defence Kris Faafoi said the $75,000 for the Mayoral relief fund could be used to alleviate hardship where financial support is not available through insurance or other sources. This could include, but was not limited to, essential items, additional financial burdens arising from the weather event, family or personal crises, or extraordinary costs for not for profit organisations.

Mr Faafoi said the floods had disrupted many lives and livelihoods, and acknowledged the work of the Westland District Council, the many supporting agencies and the community for their response to the flooding.

"People on the Coast really look out for each other, and when I visited the locals were rolling up their sleeves to support the clean-up and to assist stranded visitors.”

Minister for Agriculture and Rural Communities Damien O’Connor also declared a medium-scale adverse event in the Westland District due to the severe rain.

Doing so unlocked extra funding of $30,000 for the rural support trusts to allow them to offer increased psychosocial support to help people to get through. The money would support South Westland farmers and others affected by the major storm.

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