30 Mar 2019

Flood-hit Westland residents: 'We're on our own'

8:52 pm on 30 March 2019

People in south Westland say they feel neglected and let down after major flooding in the region.

No caption

Photo: Civil Defence West Coast

This week's big storm left one woman dead, cut power, closed roads and destroyed the Waiho Bridge linking the Franz Josef and Fox townships on State Highway 6.

Richard Molloy said parts of his farm on the flats beside the Waiho River were two-and-a half-metres underwater after the stopbank breached.

He said locals are furious that previous calls for it to be repaired were ignored, and that officials are yet to commit to another one. The effects of the storm have had a serious impact on residents and they were unhappy about its impact on their region.

"Let down, gutted, all of the above and a whole lot more. We just feel we're on our own. The Regional Council have been very tardy on any maintenance on these things," Mr Molloy said.

He said at a meeting last night the 70 residents of the Waiho flats became irate, particularly when they found out that the appropriate West Coast Regional Council officials weren't present.

The council's chief executive, Mark Meehan, said engineers have been working in the area all week so farmers can start recovering.

He said staff will be talking with the community about the long-term options.

The Transport Agency said yesterday it will take longer to replace the Waiho Bridge than it initially expected.

The agency's system manager, Pete Connors, said instead of the seven to 10 days estimated, it will now take 14 to 17 days to install another bridge - which should be up by Friday 12 April.

More heavy rain on its way

Meanwhile, MetService has issued warnings about heavy rain coming to Westland on Sunday night.

The warnings predict about 100mm to 150mm of rain about the ranges, and 60mm to 90mm near the coast over 12 hours from 7pm on Sunday. Up to 35mm of rain an hour were possible, MetService said, and could cause streams and rivers to rise rapidly. Surface flooding and slips are also possible and driving conditions may be hazardous.

Forecaster Fulong Lu said the intensity and amount of rain would be less compared with last week.

The moving front would likely bring rain to areas in the North Island in the coming days, he added.

Get the RNZ app

for ad-free news and current affairs