Auckland flooding: PM Chris Hipkins announces funding but says 'there's no one-size-fits-all approach'

Here's what the PM said.
Here's what the PM said. Photo credit: Newshub.

Prime Minister Chris Hipkins says Auckland remains in a local state of emergency and there has been damage to a number of roads.

"The advice remains to avoid non-essential travel and to stay out of floodwaters and away from damaged areas. There are still more severe weather forecasts in areas such as Coromandel, Bay of Plenty and East Cape, with an orange weather warning in effect and more rain is expected here in Auckland."

Hipkins says Enhanced Taskforce Green is being stood up, making available funding from MSD to employ people in affected areas to restore homes and properties.

"Flooding and storm damage in Northland, Auckland, Waikato and Bay of Plenty has now been classified as a medium-scale adverse event. Funding of $200,000 has been allocated to the Rural Support Trusts who know their communities and the support that's required to help people through and we know that the recent weather has come on top of what has already been a challenging and wet season for many in the upper North Island."

"I thank everybody for the efforts that they have put in."

Hipkins is holding a media conference after meeting Auckland business leaders over the impact of the flooding crisis in the region.

On claiming insurance, Hipkins says the government will be working closely with the sector, and wants to see as many claims resolved as quickly as possible, "and to make sure that people can just get on with the job of cleaning out the damage so that they can actually start the rebuild process".

However, it can take time to work through areas where there are more complex claims, he says.

He says there are challenges for retail, wholesale, stock loss and underinsurance.

"A complex area for government to step into, so don't want to become an insurer by default because that creates a whole another set of issues so we'll just work our way through those sorts of issues carefully."

Hipkins says the government is also working with the accommodation sector.

"That includes looking at things like motels as a stopgap measure while people's houses get dried out again and so on, we'll work with our accommodation providers, our emergency accommodation providers, the existing ones that we have and we are already I believe working with potential new providers to provide short-term temporary accommodation while we get things sorted."

He says this will mostly be short-term.

"Where they're red-stickered and significant work needs to be done it may be longer ... there's no one-size-fits-all approach here, in some cases people have got other places they can go - they can stay with extended family or can stay with friends.

"We'll work through that on a case-by-case basis."

Earlier, he told Nine to Noon on Thursday the flooding is probably the biggest weather-related natural disaster the country has ever faced.

"We do have to be prepared for the fact that this isn't going to be solved in the next few days or weeks. It is going to take quite a lot of time," he said, when asked about the scale of the disaster and repair job ahead.

Insurers are bringing in extra staff from overseas and warning it will be years before all claims are settled for flood damaged homes, cars and contents in Auckland.

The Insurance Council said on Wednesday 15,000 claims had been lodged but that was just the start.