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Budget 2023 a step in the right direction for Hawke’s Bay recovery


The announcement of Budget 2023 is another critical step forward in enabling Te-Matau-a-Māui Hawke’s Bay to deliver a recovery that is locally-led, regionally coordinated and government supported, says Hawke’s Bay’s leaders.   

Through Budget 2023, Minister of Finance and Minister for Cyclone Recovery, Grant Robertson, confirmed the Government will set aside $6 billion for delivery of the National Resilience Plan, enabling the rebuild of infrastructure destroyed across the country by February’s severe weather events. This funding is in addition to the $941 million for the previously announced Cyclone Recovery Package. 

Alex Walker, Mayor of Central Hawke’s Bay District Council and Co-Chair of Te Matau a Māui Hawke’s Bay Matariki Governance Group, says while the Budget announcement was welcome, further detail was still required.  

“It is pleasing to see central Government funding committed to regions like Hawke’s Bay which are still heavily focused on rebuild and recovery following the devastating impact of recent weather events across Aotearoa New Zealand.  

“Already, initial assessments have indicated that Hawke’s Bay will require $1.374 billion to deliver the most immediate recovery priorities for this year alone. While the confirmed funding through Budget 2023 is a step in the right direction, there is still a lot more information and detailed required about the funding Hawke’s Bay communities will receive, and how that funding will be allocated aross the recovery needs and priorities for the region.  

“As we’ve always said, the transition from immediate response toward meaningful, long-term recovery is going to require investment far greater than anything the region is seen before, and we will continue to advocate for this investment for the people of Hawke’s Bay.” 

Hawke’s Bay Regional Council Chair, Hinewai Ormsby, said one of the highest priorities for the region is the restoration of the region’s flood protection systems.   

“We need whānau most impacted by this cyclone to feel safe in their homes, and we know we need to invest in some major upgrades to our region’s flood protection systems if we’re going to deliver on that.   

“We absolutely need investment from central Government, and while the previously committed $100 million of flood protection funding for Aotearoa New Zealand is welcome, this is significantly less than we need as a region if we’re going to build greater resilience into our flood protection schemes over the many years ahead. 

“It’s important to remember that the recovery is a marathon, not a sprint, and the funding for this year is just the beginning. We’re committed to building forward together and, to do that, we’re going to continue needing strong co-investment support from central Government well into the future.”  

Leon Symes, Chair of Tātau Tātau o Te Wairoa and Co-Chair of the Matariki Governance Group, says any central Government funding for primary industries, including the $35 million in financial support for farmers and growers across New Zealand, will be welcome by the industry – many of whom are in need of immediate relief.  

“The impact of Cyclone Gabrielle has been felt right across the region, with people losing lives, homes and livelihoods, and we remain deeply concerned about the health and wellbeing of the people of Hawke’s Bay.  

“We’ve heard from the horticulture and agricultural sectors that there is an urgent need for significant Government funding – not only to support the work required to remove silt, slash and other debris from farms, vineyards and orchards, but also to enable the replanting and reinstating of damaged and lost crops. We know that seasons don't wait, with this work needing to be done now, and every dollar of assistance from Government will be critical to enabling the sector to ‘grow back better’ and continue their vital role in New Zealand's food supply chain. 

“Unfortunately, this urgent need is not unique to our farmers and growers, and we remain conscious of the fact that there is still significant recovery support required for local Māori, Iwi and Hapū, with many communities yet to receive meaningful support for the remediation and restoration of whenua Māori. 

“As a region, we look forward to continuing to work with central Government as it provides further detail and clarity around the policies and funding required to address these inequities, and to deliver on the commitment of enabling Te-Matau-a-Māui Hawke’s Bay to build back safer, stronger and smarter.”

22 May 2023

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