Friday, December 8, 2023

Govt greenlights funds for marae flood protection

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Almost $9m set aside to bolster protection for remote maraes hit by Cyclone Gabrielle.
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The government has approved new funding it says will boost resilience and reduce the risk of major flood damage across Te Tai Tokerau.

The $8.9 million will be used to provide better protection for some of the smaller communities and maraes that were badly impacted earlier this year.

“Alongside supporting Te Tai Tokerau to rebuild and recover we need to prepare for any future events and the government is committed to helping councils and mana whenua do just that,” Prime Minister Chris Hipkins said.

Almost half of the funding, $4.2m, will go towards reducing the risk of flooding in Kawakawa, Otiria-Moerewa, Kaeo, Matangirau, Whirinaki, and Punaruku, including marae that are often flooded or are at risk from flooding.

Remaining funds will go towards projects including removing fallen and at-risk trees from flood-risk rivers, stormwater upgrades, stabilising work, stop bank repairs, and early warning systems.

“Te Tai Tokerau includes some very remote areas, and it was these small, isolated communities that were really hit hard by these weather events,” MP for Te Tai Tokerau Kelvin Davis said.

“We need to focus on building up our infrastructure resilience in the region, with this flood protection work going alongside work around our roading network and other core services.

“Marae also played a big part in responding and helping out the community during the disaster and I’m pleased to be able to provide some of the marae most at risk to further flooding with funding.”

The $8.9m announced is from the $100m funding announced as part of Budget 2023 and was set aside for practical flood protection infrastructure like stop banks as well as other local measures that can protect communities from flooding.

A breakdown of the $8.9m funding is as follows:

$4.2m – Flood risk reduction work in Kawakawa, Otiria-Moerewa, Kaeo, Matangirau, Whirinaki, Punaruku. Councils, tāngata whenua, and communities of these six rohe will work together to identify specific work programmes to build flood resilience.

$2.1m – Removal and trimming of trees from rivers where they create flood risk. Undertaken by Ngā Manga Atawhai, Northland’s collaborative initiative tackling the region’s fallen and at-risk tree problem.

$650,000 – Dargaville Wastewater Treatment Plant bund improvement.

$560,000 – Flood intelligence and early warning system – Far North, Whangārei, and Kaipara councils.

$500,000 – Dargaville stop bank repairs.

$500,000 – Stormwater upgrade in Robert Street, Mangawhai.

$400,000 – Awakino Railway embankment stabilisation work.

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