29 Sep 2022

Nelson floods: Homeowners face uncertainty as recovery continues

8:31 am on 29 September 2022
Flooding damage on Devenish Place in the Nelson suburb of Atawhai.

Damage on Devenish Place in the Nelson suburb of Atawhai from floods in the city last month. Photo: RNZ / Angus Dreaver / Screenshot

Many residents in Nelson still have not been able to return home after last month's floods as officials continue to assess damage to the city and region.

Emergency Management Minister Kieran McAnulty will visit Nelson today to be briefed on the flood recovery.

His presence coincides with periods of heavy rain which hit the upper South Island overnight, with the MetService having warned of the risk of rivers in the region rising rapidly.

MetService said in the past 24 hours, a station near Westport has had more than 100 millimetres of rain while Paradise Peak in Nelson had over 50mm in the past 12 hours.

More rain is expected for Marlborough, Nelson and Buller this morning.

Nelson mayor Rachel Reese said the number of cases of people out of their red-stickered homes had dropped from more than 90 to under 40.

"We've managed to make some really good progress but there are still many affected families from this event," she told Morning Report.

Nelson City Mayor Rachel Reese meets with Civil Defence during the response to major flooding in the region

Rachel Reese. Photo: RNZ / Angus Dreaver

Those out of their homes had properties affected by landslides and slope instability and they were working with EQC and their insurers on the remediation process.

"I can say there will be properties where people will not be able to go home. I think we can see that now and that's a really difficult situation for those families."

A drop-in clinic was held in the city last night attended by members of the recovery team, temporary accommodation services and insurers.

During his visit the minister will talk to the council while several of his portfolios - emergency management, local government and transport - will be called in to play as Nelson recovers from the flooding, Reese said.

"We need to continue to work closely with Nema [National Emergency Management Agency], with the minister and really make sure that we've got that temporary accommodation service working well for the city."

Bringing in some temporary housing was being considered, she said.

Emergency powers have been extended which was needed because there was still so much to do.

With regards to overnight rain, so far there have not been any reports of slips.

"Geotech will be out today but so far so good .... hopefully it will ease off this afternoon."

Reese said that from now on some parts of New Zealand would be recovering from an adverse weather event most of the year.

"That's going to mean a different approach to emergency management and that conversation is one that certainly I know the minister is up for. It's going to be tough.

"... the impact for Waka Kotahi repairing roads and access throughout New Zealand - it's a massive task and an expensive one."

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