Government to spend another $63m on Cyclone Gabrielle silt and debris clean-up

The Government is providing more money to remove silt and debris from areas affected by Cyclone Gabrielle.

At a press conference in Hawke's Bay, Prime Minister Christopher Luxon and Emergency Management Minister Mark Mitchell said $63 million of funding will help councils in Hawke's Bay and Tai Rāwhiti to continue work dealing with woody debris and sediment.

More than 2.5m tonnes has already been removed by the Hawke's Bay Silt Recovery Taskforce and the regional council will receive $40m in new funding. This includes $3m ringfenced for debris removal in Wairoa.

The Gisborne District Council will receive an extra $23.6m to process and remove woody debris. The government claimed that nearly 165,000 tonnes of woody debris have already been removed from Tai Rāwhiti.

Mitchell said: "This government is fully committed to the recovery, and we are working with local authorities to identify how we can make it go faster".

This brings the government's total funding to $232m for the clean-up of sediment and debris across Hawke's Bay and Tai Rāwhiti.

"This additional funding means these regions can continue with the job clearing sediment from high priority areas.

"It also means work can continue to remove woody debris to prevent any further damage to infrastructure and local communities", Mitchell said.

The aftermath of the cyclone in Hawke's Bay.
The aftermath of the cyclone in Hawke's Bay. Photo credit: Newshub

Facing questions over the government's response, Luxon laid much of the blame on the former Labour administration.

He claimed that despite the bi-partisan approach to the recovery effort that there had been a "lot of mucking about" which had hampered the recovery of the agricultural sector.