The Government has announced an extra $400,000 to help West Coasters recover from the devastating March floods. A medium-scale adverse event in the Westland District has also now been declared. The new funding includes:
- $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’s Contaminated Sites Remediation Fund, for river clean-up.
- $75,000 contribution to the Mayoral Relief Fund
- $30,000 for Rural Support Trusts.
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 26 March, cutting off State Highway 6 to the south of the town, and phone and internet services to Fox Glacier. One person tragically lost their life.
Conservation Minister Hon Eugenie Sage says DOC is 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 the Department has already provided to support the council with clean-up efforts.
“Alongside other Ministers and MPs I visited the West Coast soon after the floods. I’m proud of the work the Department of Conservation is doing on the ground providing practical support for the rubbish clean-up efforts
Environment Minister David Parker is 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 Hon Kris Faafoi has announced $75,000 will be provided to the Mayoral Relief Fund, which can be used to alleviate hardship where financial support is not available through insurance or other sources. This can include, but is 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 says the floods have 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 has also declared a medium-scale adverse event in the Westland District due to the severe rain. This unlocks extra funding of $30,000 for the Rural Support Trusts to allow them to offer increased psychosocial support to help our rural people to get through. The money will support South Westland farmers and others affected by the major storm.
The Rural Support Trust can be contacted on 0800 787 254.
The Mayoral Relief Fund is open to public donations. People wanting to donate or seeking assistance from the Mayoral Relief Fund should contact Westland District Council on 03 756 9010 or email email@example.com.