Cyclone Gabrielle: Flood, cyclone-damaged properties will be placed into category system

People whose homes were damaged by Cyclone Gabrielle and the January floods will find out the future of their properties once the government has placed them in its new 'category' system.

Cyclone Recovery Minister Grant Robertson says the cyclone taskforce has been working with insurance companies and councils to build a picture of high-risk areas.

"There's no one size fits all approach - each area is unique and influenced by a number of different factors which is why we are taking the time to get this right."

The future of properties affected by the weather events will be assessed under three categories that range from needing simple repairs to never being rebuilt again.

They are:

  • Low Risk - Repair to previous state is all that is required to manage future severe weather event risk. This means that once any flood protection near the property is repaired, the home can be rebuilt at the same site
  • Managed Risk - Community or property-level interventions will manage future severe weather event risk. This could include the raising of nearby stop banks, improving drainage or raising the property (Category two is split into three sub-categories as outlined in table below)
  • High Risk - Areas in the high-risk category are not safe to live in because of the unacceptable risk of future flooding and loss of life. Homes in these areas should not be rebuilt on their current sites

The work had progressed further in some flood-affected areas than in others, Robertson said.

"The government's intention is to complete assessments for low-risk properties in category one quickly so people in those homes can settle with their insurance companies and get on with their recovery.

"Decisions on properties in categories two and three will take a bit longer - but will be completed as soon as they are possible," he said.

Discussions with communities will begin as soon as assessments were complete and quality assurances done, Robertson said.

"We know it is stressful for residents waiting to hear about the future of their properties and I want to assure people we are doing all we can to move through this process as quickly and effectively as we can.