Minister told to 'step up and show some leadership' over West Coast flooding

The Rural Communities Minister has been told to "step up and show some leadership" over flooding damage on the West Coast.

The region was hit hard when a deluge caused a stop bank to collapse, flooding properties and farmland. The Waiho Bridge also gave way, isolating the West Coast community.

West Coast-Tasman National List MP Maureen Pugh is unhappy at the response from Damien O'Connor.

She said the South Westland communities deserved better than "the current stoush" between the councils and O'Connor over the proposal "to let the Waiho River flood four substantial dairy farms, the airstrip, residential properties, and relocate State Highway 6".

"I am calling on Mr O'Connor to step up and show some clear leadership to solve what has become a huge local issue over the past few years," she said.

"The deluge that caused the southern stop bank to blow out has put real urgency on preventing further flood damage to those properties, as well as the need to find a longer-term solution for the community," Pugh said.

Maureen Pugh wants more done to help those affected by flooding on the West Coast.
Maureen Pugh wants more done to help those affected by flooding on the West Coast. Photo credit: File

She said there is a real possibility that urgent financial assistance will be needed, whatever solution is found."

"The local communities are quite rightly very upset by the proposal to let nature take its course and they really deserve some leadership from Mr O'Connor on this one  urgently."

O'Connor told Rural Today's Dominic George earlier this week that the Government has pledged to do what it can to help affected farmers, but there will be no big payout.

He said he met with farmers on Friday.

"I told them that the Government will help where we can, but I was honest, and said that no-one is going to write you out a cheque."

He said that he was surprised to hear suggestions of moving the township at a cost of $300 million.

"The councils have been down here and talked these big figures," he said.

"Quite frankly, I don't know where they got their figures from, unless they have found a pot of gold."