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Councils to coordinate recovery efforts

wairoa flood

As Tairāwhiti and Wairoa move into the recovery phase following more than a week of heavy rain, the regions’ local government leaders are assuring their communities that councils will be united in their recovery efforts.
Hawke’s Bay Regional Council Chair Rick Barker said the Gisborne District Council, Wairoa District Council and HBRC had committed to work closely together.
“Our plan is to share resources and tools with joint management and coordination across the recovery, and each council’s recovery managers leading the efforts in their respective districts,” Mr. Barker said.
“This has been a significant event for the Tairāwhiti and Northern Hawke’s Bay areas, and we all recognise the seriousness of the impacts on our people and communities.
“The recovery will require a coordinated approach from councils and government agencies, supported by rural networks. We will be doing everything we can to work together to get the best possible outcomes for those most affected by the severe weather,” Mr. Barker said.
Gisborne Mayor Rehette Stoltz said that while Tairāwhiti had come out of its state of emergency status on Friday, there were still plenty of response activities taking place, with contractors working hard to reconnect the region.
Mrs. Stoltz said the scale of the recovery meant it made sense to take a joined-up approach with other councils.
“This has been an incredibly tough time for many across Tairāwhiti. We know the recovery will be a big job and this will be a long process,” Mrs. Stoltz said.
“Our collective top priority is to help our communities recover and rebuild - and boost the resilience of our districts from future flood events. The best way to achieve that is to work together with our neighbouring councils.
“We’ve already held multi-agency meetings, with council and civil defence staff, rural networks and central government agencies to enhance the coordination of our activities. It’s early days, but that collaboration has already started,” said Mrs. Stoltz.
Wairoa Mayor Craig Little said that understanding the full extent of recovery needs continues to be difficult as road access and aerial assessment have been impeded by the ongoing weather conditions.
“But I’m still very encouraged by the work that is already underway, not only by councils and government agencies but also the rural networks. Things are in motion,” Mr. Little said.
“The Hawke’s Bay Rural Advisory Group have been working with the Gisborne Rural Connectivity Group to help assist farmers in the recovery process. There are also webinars and meetings planned for next week,” Mr. Little said.
Mr. Little said regional leaders were also working with regional government agency representatives to look at providing Enhanced Taskforce Green for both Wairoa and Tairāwhiti. 
“We are tough, resilient people in this part of the country, but we are also supportive, community-minded people. Working together, supporting each other as we get through this is just the natural thing to do,” Mr. Little said.

4 April 2022

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