Moerewa locals clash with Council over 'decades' long sewage contamination issue

Almost two weeks on from Northland's devastating floods, the town of Moerewa is still struggling with sewage contamination.

The region was battered with a one in 500-year rainfall which put petrol stations underwater, and flooded businesses and homes.

But parts of Moerewa are still dealing with sewage contamination which is damaging facilities, including the playground at Moerewa School.

It's the third time since 2011 that flooding has brought sewage onto the playground. It doesn't just make it unusable, it costs the school money, and makes it hard to get insurance.

"Year upon year, flood upon flood. It's becoming a bit too much," principal Maia Cooper says.

Locals gathered at a community meeting on Thursday to vent their anger at what they say is years of Council inaction.

"We can't wait for another flood to go through this, businesses are on the line," one local says.

Another told the Council "we've had this conversation for decades, and still your flood plan is not working".

When questioned by Newshub on why the issue hadn't been fixed, Northland Regional Council deputy chair Justin Blaikie says there have been issues about coming to an agreement.

He says the community has historically struggled to agree on a solution, but on Thursday a possible solution- a spillway- was proposed.

"That will certainly improve the flooding from what our modelling and engineers tell us," Blaikie says.

But the plan aims to improve the flooding - not eliminate it.

"We can't keep enduring floods. Half of our people here aren't insured because they're uninsurable now, how rats is that? It's terrible," Otiria resident Pamela-Ann Simon says.

And it means that if there is another flood, some of these people could lose everything.