Funds for flooded Northland

HAMISH RUTHERFORD
Last updated 17:06 14/07/2014

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Civil Defence Minister Nikki Kaye has announced $100,000 for flood-hit Northland, and promises to consider more funding if needed.

The region was hit by days of prolonged rain and wind last week, leaving properties flooded, power cut and roads blocked. 

Kaye said the Ministry of Civil Defence & Emergency Management had been liaising with the Far North, Kaipara and Whangarei district councils, and the Northland Regional Council to establish a new mayoral relief fund.

“This will be set up by the Far North and Whangarei councils with the majority of the fund going to the most affected areas in Northland,” Kaye said, pledging an initial $100,000 "with further assistance considered if needed”.

Tomorrow Kaye will travel to the Far North and Kaitaia, while Primary Industries Minister Nathan Guy will travel to the Hikurangi area tomorrow to visit farms and orchards affected by the flooding.

Earlier Labour list MP Kelvin Davis called for the government to “step up” to assist local Northland councils fix infrastructure problems highlighted by the flooding.

"The bad weather has amplified how susceptible the North really is at times like this,” Davis said. 

"Our roading infrastructure is a major source of concern. This weather event has shown that when the main road in and out of the north fails, the side roads are just not able to cope as detour routes.”

Davis said Te Tai Tokerau, where he will contest in September’s election, “is at risk of running low on basic necessities such as bread, milk and fuel” as supply trucks were unable to get past a major slip on State Highway 1 south of Kawakawa. 

"A number of households have lost whole freezers full of food due to trees coming down on power lines - now they may have to contend with not being able to re stock the basics.”

Transport Minister Gerry Brownlee said NZ Transport Agency contractors would be working “24 hours a day” to establish an alternative route to the slip south of  Kawakawa, although a permanent fix “will take some time”.

Brownlee hit back at Davis’ comments, claiming they showed conflict within Labour about investment in the region.

"Up to $1.66 billion worth of Government funding is currently committed to Northland roading projects, and the vast majority of it would be cut by a Labour-led government.”

Brownlee said one of the additional regional road upgrades announced at the National Party conference was “on the very stretch of State Highway 1 south of Kawakawa which has been washed out by this week's storm”.

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"You don't have to convince the Government that Northland needs better roading,” Brownlee said.


- Stuff

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