Saturday, December 2, 2023

Hawke’s Bay gathers info on post-cyclone needs

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Survey to paint up-to-date picture of impacts ‘on our land, businesses and people’.
Information from a Hawke’s Bay survey will be used to help co-ordinate the recovery across the region.
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A survey has been launched in Hawke’s Bay to determine what support landowners and businesses need in the cyclone-ravaged region.

The joint initiative between the Hawke’s Bay Regional Council (HBRC) and the Hawke’s Bay Rural Advisory Group began on April 14 and has so far has attracted more than 300 responses.

HBRC manager rural recovery Richard Wakelin said the aim of the survey is to help residents and communities. 

“It is important to have an up-to-date picture of the impacts of the cyclone on our land, businesses and people,” he said.

Information gathered will be used to help co-ordinate the recovery across the region and advocate for additional support from central government.

Farmers are being urged to complete the survey but growers and lifestyle block can also respond. 

“We did not deliberately target the horticulture sector as HortNZ had undertaken a survey earlier.

“However, as ours was designed to cover more detail, it did give horticulture growers an option to participate if they wanted to. This will give us a better picture of the different challenges faced in our communities and, in turn, ensure land-owners are better supported,” Wakelin said

HBRC recovery manager Louise McPhail said the recovery will take several years but in the meantime the focus remains on community welfare as “there are still some isolated or displaced communities”.

She said the newly established Hawke’s Bay Regional Recovery Agency (HBRRA) is taking shape. Keriana Brooking is the interim chief executive and Blair O’Keefe has been appointed chair of the oversight board. 

O’Keefe will be looking to appoint a permanent CEO and other staff.

McPhail said the HBRRA “has tasked councils, including the regional council, as well as Māori/hapū/ iwi to prepare locality plans. The first edition of these have to be submitted to the HBRRA by April 28. The second edition of the plan is due in September and this will be much more informed and based on discussions with the Hawke’s Bay community and Māori/hapū/ iwi.” 

The regional council will be focusing on “the  rapid rebuild” of stop banks to ensure communities are safe heading into winter.

“HBRC will also need to undertake further investigations into the impact of the cyclone on the environment. Comprehensive community engagement will be required in the development of the second edition of the Environmental Resilience plan due in September,” she said.