23 Feb 2018

Tasman lifts state of emergency after Gita

2:02 pm on 23 February 2018

The state of emergency imposed in Nelson and Tasman this week because of Cyclone Gita has been lifted.

Slips and flooding in the Takaka Hill area.

Slips and flooding in the Takaka Hill area. Photo: RNZ / Logan Church

A spokesman, Roger Ball, said the fuel conservation plan in Golden Bay remained in place, with a $30 fuel limit per vehicle per day.

Relief and welfare operations will continue for the next few days and six response teams are continuing welfare assessments in the Motueka, Riwaka and Brooklyn Valley areas.

The Transport Agency is expected to provide an update this evening on the Takaka Hill highway.

An air operator also said the queues of people waiting to get out of Golden Bay were now lessening.

Lisa Sheppard of Golden Bay Air said they had ferried 250 people out of Takaka since Wednesday.

She said hundreds queued at the Takaka air field over the past two days, and many were still waiting for a seat on a plane.

"And we've probably got a hundred still on the waitlist plus quite a few people now being in contact concerned about whether or not the hill will be open next week.

"We're hanging in there and people are getting to where they need to be."

She said others were finding a way out by boat.

Fuel rationing

Golden Bay is also rationing fuel after being cut off due to slips on Takaka Hill, the only road in and out of the town, after heavy rain from Cyclone Gita soaked the country on Tuesday.

Yesterday, two barges carrying groceries and other supplies reached Port Tarakohe, near Takaka.

But the delivery did not include petrol, which is starting to worry business owners who are rationing their stock.

Tourists are also starting to worry about the fuel shortage and road closure but many have already left by light aircraft or a water taxi.

Civil Defence yesterday said the limited supply of fuel is being managed with a $30 daily restriction per vehicle per day, exempting emergency services and volunteers helping with the recovery.

But good news may be in sight after Maritime New Zealand granted permission for a commercial barge to bring petrol and gas into the port.

Under its operating certificate, the barge is not normally allowed to carry dangerous goods.

Nelson-Tasman Civil Defence Controller Roger Ball said the availability of the barge was good news.

He said some gas may have already been sent on a barge last night as restaurants and campgrounds are running low.

Food supplies and toilet paper were also running low before the barges arrived.

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