27 Feb 2023

Government's temporary accommodation support expanded to areas hit by Cyclone Gabrielle

12:39 pm on 27 February 2023
The aftermath of massive flooding that swept through the Esk Valley during Cyclone Gabrielle. The river's normal path can be seen running down the right of the valley.

The aftermath of massive flooding that swept through the Esk Valley during Cyclone Gabrielle. Photo: RNZ/ Sally Murphy

The government's temporary accommodation services for people displaced by recent storms is being expanded.

The service now covers regions affected outside of Auckland.

The service was set up after last month's storm in Auckland, to help displaced people find accommodation.

Now it will be expanded to assist those in areas hit by Cyclone Gabrielle, including Te Tai Tokerau, Tai Rāwhiti , Hawke's Bay, Bay of Plenty, Waikato and Tararua District.

Housing Minister Megan Woods said estimates show up to 1800 households in Auckland alone may need temporary accommodation.

Megan Woods

Housing Minister Megan Woods. Photo: RNZ / Samuel Rillstone

Temporary housing options includes hotels, motor lodges and portable accommodation.

Woods said this will be the largest operation of its type to date given the severity and close timing of successive weather events.

"TAS has been scaling up, preparing and planning to meet this response but with a natural disaster of this magnitude affecting so many households and so much infrastructure, this may take time," Woods said.

"Options for accommodation include hotels, motels, motor lodges, and portable accommodation, as happened following the Christchurch and Kaikōura earthquakes, the West Coast flooding in July 2021 and Nelson/Marlborough floods of August last year."

Woods said TAS would work with households to understand their specific needs and to find temporary accommodation that would suit them.

"Our first priority is to find warm, dry and secure accommodation for people."

Woods also urged tenants and landlords of rental properties to visit the tenancy website to understand their rights and obligations following such events.

She said the government has recently launched the New Zealand Claims Resolution Service which offered free services to help.

"This is a significant event for New Zealand, and there are many people who are profoundly affected by it with the loss of their homes or severe damage," she said.

"TAS will work as quickly as it can to find appropriate accommodation for those who need it as a result of these weather events."

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