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‘A huge job’: $133 million announced for silt removal in Hawke’s Bay

Ttruckloads of silt being dumped at a Hawke's Bay silt deposit site.

Posted on May 8, 2023

The Government has announced one of its biggest packages to assist Cyclone Gabrielle recovery efforts in Hawke’s Bay and Gisborne – with $172 million for the processing and disposal of silt.

Of that funding, $133.2m has been allocated for Hawke’s Bay and $38.8m for Tairāwhiti.

In total, $102m will help councils process and dispose of all the debris coming from residential properties and deal with sediment on council land, as well as $70m for commercial properties (including farmers and growers) to help clean up their land.

Commercial properties, such as those of farmers and growers, will receive funding through grants distributed through councils.

The cyclone brought widespread destruction to the region and has left councils, properties, farms, orchards and vineyards with a huge clean-up job, needing to dispose of millions of tonnes of silt.

The funding will also go toward debris and sediment removal from whenua Māori.

The announcement came on the same day the lead minister for the Hawke’s Bay cyclone recovery, Meka Whaitiri, resigned from the Labour Party to join Te Pāti Māori [the Māori Party]. Local Government Minister Kieran McAnulty is to be the acting lead minister for the Hawke’s Bay cyclone recovery.

Associate Minister for Cyclone Recovery, Barbara Edmonds, said the $172m announcement would greatly assist councils.

“This latest funding will help councils manage the cost of the post-cyclone clean-up. This includes collection, processing, removal and disposal of sediment and debris,” she said.

“It’s part of the Government’s ongoing commitment to help communities, including farmers, growers, whenua Māori owners and others, recover from the cyclone.

“We know it’s important to the regions that the recovery is locally led, supported by the Government. Local authorities will administer the funding and be able to decide how best to direct it.

A wrecked car sticking out of mud and silt in Esk Valley following the cyclone.

“Growers have been particularly badly affected, and we’ve been listening carefully to them to work out how best to structure the assistance they’ll need to recover. At the same time, officials have been working alongside local authorities on funding allocations.

“We recognise that this is a huge job and want to continue to support local communities to recover and rebuild.”

For commercial properties, funding will be provided through local councils in the form of grants.

Criteria have been set, including that the first $40,000 will be fully funded by the Crown, including any funding already provided through earlier support programmes.

“Funding above that will be cost-shared on a 50:50 basis and capped at $210,000. Work that businesses have already undertaken through their own funding will be able to be counted as part of their 50 per cent contribution.”

McAnulty said: “Silt and debris removal is a complex and time-consuming task. Once it’s been removed from properties, it needs to be processed and disposed of safely at council facilities.”

“This funding ensures there is somewhere for material to go. It will cover eligible related clean-up costs councils have already incurred.

“Councils can choose to use the funding to remove debris from residential properties, particularly if silt and debris [are] blocking access.”

It comes as the Hawke’s Bay Horticulture Growers’ Taskforce has asked the Government for $750m to help with the industry’s huge losses.

Tukituki MP Anna Lorck said the package will make a “huge difference” for the region.

“It’s also important we ensure that work is available to local businesses and local jobs so that we keep our regional economy growing – now and in the future.”


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