Hon Shane Jones, Minister for Infrastructure
Hon Grant Robertson, Minister of Finance
The Government has today announced investments from the Provincial Growth Fund and COVID Response and Recovery Fund towards roading and flood protection projects after flooding events in the Far North.
$14.2 million from the Provincial Growth Fund is being made available for roading projects. Infrastructure Minister Shane Jones said the funds would be made available as soon as possible and that he had instructed officials to expedite all contracting with Far North District Council.
After suffering drought conditions for many months, Northland has now been overwhelmed by heavy rainfall in recent days with significant flooding occurring across the region.
Shane Jones said some of the heaviest flooding was around the Moerewa area and damage had occurred on Ngapipito Rd.
“Far North District Council has been struggling to upgrade, widen and correct road quality. I’ve no doubt the community will be relieved that this grant can address drainage, slip repairs, bridge improvements and other overdue matters.”
The Government also announced $12.5 million to help combat future flooding events in Northland, through the infrastructure package under the COVID Response and Recovery Fund.
This specific flood resilience money has been approved by Cabinet as a part the $210 million global allocation announced last month for flood protection projects nationwide.
That funding comes from the tagged contingency set aside for infrastructure in Budget 2020.
Finance Minister Grant Robertson said the infrastructure projects funded by the COVID Fund are ones that are ready to get underway, in order to create jobs and support the immediate economic recovery.
“Along with helping to deal with the impact of the flooding, we’re investing in infrastructure now to address some of the long-term challenges the New Zealand economy faces, while stimulating economic activity as we recover and rebuild from COVID-19,” Grant Robertson said.
“This grant is being made available to Northland Regional Council. I am confident that our regional leaders will work closely with Whangarei District Council to address flooding problems in their area,” Shane Jones said.
“Last week I announced $30m in flood resilience funding for Otago and Southland, an area damaged by bad flooding earlier this year. Today’s Northland announcement is a timely reminder of the importance of flood resilience investment.”
Work includes river benching and setting back stopbanks, flood wall protection and constructing bypass spillways to divert water away in times of crisis.
“Our regional leaders know which parts of Northland are particularly vulnerable to flooding events. As my officials engage with the regional council, it is important that Whangarei, our largest city, and its concerns are addressed,” Shane Jones said.
“I realise work has already started on flood issues in Awanui and North Hokianga. Obviously the urgency has grown after the recent destructive flood. I have been assured by the councils this work is definitely shovel-ready and represents an opportunity for rapid action.
“I will report back to Cabinet as to what emergency relief funds may be needed to deal with consequences of the flooding,” Shane Jones said.
Note to editors:
All approvals from the tagged contingency set aside in Budget 2020 for infrastructure are in principle and subject to contract negotiations. Investment values are also subject to change.