24 Aug 2021

Buller gets $8m recovery funds after severe flooding

2:08 pm on 24 August 2021

The Buller District Council will receive an $8 million funding boost to help in the recovery of last month's severe flooding.

The New Zealand Defence Force, Buller District Council staff and Westreef contractors are working together to remove flood damaged items from homes in Westport.

Flood damaged items from homes in Westport after a severe weather event in July 2021. Photo: RNZ / Samantha Gee

Acting Minister for Emergency Management Kris Faafoi said the package would provide financial security for the council and enable it to continue with recovery operations while maintaining business as usual services.

"This flooding event has profoundly affected many people and their families. People have lost their possessions, their homes are damaged, their livelihoods have been impacted, and their lives have been turned upside down."

The July flooding event saw nearly half Westport's resident seek help from the Buller District Council - 463 homes in the district were flooded and more than 200 remain uninhabitable with people still requiring alternative accommodation.

Faafoi said the funding would help support the recovery for those impacted across the Buller District.

No caption

Acting Minister for Emergency Management Kris Faafoi. Photo: RNZ / Samuel Rillstone

Multiple government agencies had been working alongside council to deliver temporary accommodation, financial assistance, and mental health support services.

Minister for Local Government Nanaia Mahuta said Buller District Council faced a number of challenges that warranted additional government support and it had a small rating base, so could not absorb the costs of the floods easily.

"The council has worked incredibly hard to support its community through the flood response and clean-up, and we are committed to ensuring they can continue to support their community through what will be a long and challenging recovery."

West Coast Tasman MP Damien O'Connor said the additional support would be greatly appreciated in the Buller District where people were still bearing the brunt of the massive flooding event.

The $8m financial assistance package will fund; the immediate costs associated with recovery, support for a community hub and navigation services, skilled advisory services to support the Buller District Council.

Get the RNZ app

for ad-free news and current affairs