Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern and Minister of Civil Defence Peeni Henare have today confirmed initial Government support of $100,000 for communities affected by the severe weather that swept across the South Island and lower North Island over the weekend.
The contribution will be made to Mayoral relief funds across the country to help with response and recovery efforts, and follows $50,000 of funding to support farming communities in the South Canterbury district yesterday.
“The disruption to lives and livelihoods, especially for those in hardest hit South Canterbury and the West Coast, has been substantial,” Jacinda Ardern said.
“Our immediate priority is the safety and wellbeing of those affected first hand – the communities, the farmers, the tourists.
“Further Government support may be needed once a full assessment of damage is complete,” Jacinda Ardern said.
Minister Henare, who is on the West Coast today, said he’s seen transport links severed, travellers stranded, interruptions to power, mobile and internet services, and widespread damage.
“This funding assistance will help those communities to get back on their feet, as locals are best-placed to know exactly what they need right now,” Peeni Henare said.
A clearer picture of damage is expected once a New Zealand Defence Force P-3 Orion aircraft has completed its survey of the area. NZDF is also on stand-by to provide travel support if no commercial solutions are available.
The National Emergency Management Agency has activated its memorandum of understanding with Airbnb, providing free accommodation for displaced people in Timaru and Ashburton and on the West Coast.