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Source: New Zealand Government

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern, Minister of Civil Defence Kris Faafoi and Minister of Agriculture Damien O’Connor have confirmed further Government support for the Tasman community, to help small businesses and animal welfare organisations with costs and to remediate local infrastructure affected by the fire.

 The three ministers returned to the region this morning to meet with locals and firefighters on the front line, to view the fire damage and seek an update from the mayor and controller at the Emergency Co-ordination Centre.

 “The people of Tasman are doing an amazing job supporting each other and while there’s some relief as many people return to their homes, the fire is still a risk and continues to cause massive disruption. In the days and weeks ahead we will be working to ensure they have the help they need to make it through this terribly difficult time,” Jacinda Ardern said.

 Kris Faafoi said he will be seeking an additional $100,000 at Cabinet on Monday. This will be on top of the $70,000 already provided to the Mayoral Relief Fund.

 “We know that some local businesses are struggling, for example contractors due to the ban on outdoor machinery to prevent sparks and those that have had to close during evacuations. So this funding will provide grants to support local businesses feeling the pain after their businesses have been restricted.

 “We also recognise the outstanding work that’s been carried out to date by organisations providing care for animals and that this has been done voluntarily drawing on their own funds.

 “And we know there’s a need to support those repairing infrastructure such as dams that were damaged during the fire response. It’s a necessary part of fighting the Nelson Tasman Fires that many fire-breaks have been cut through farms and other private land, in many cases causing significant damage to the land. The full cost of land remediation won’t be known for some time, but the Government recognises that there is an immediate need to provide financial support and certainty to landowners.

 While this additional funding for the Mayoral Relief fund would be targeted for these needs, it was important to be aware it was in addition to other Government funding, Kris Faafoi said.

 “This is intended to fill the gaps quickly where an immediate need exists. Other support will take place in the longer term and we will continue to be available to the community to hear if other needs arise.”

 Minister of Agriculture Hon Damien O’Connor has also made available today a further $50,000 to the Rural Support Trust to help farmers and growers as further water restrictions are put in place in the region, taking the total to $100,000 for primary sector relief.

 “While we pray for rain we’ve taken this step to ensure there is full support available wherever it may be needed over the next few months as growers and farmers battle the effects of the fires and the drought amid further water restrictions for the region.”

 “In a fine example of how Kiwis get things done, many people and businesses have come together – from local businesses and volunteers to marae and showgrounds – to support the Tasman community and I thank all of  them for this collective support,” Jacinda Ardern said.

 Contact (Rt Hon Jacinda Ardern): Kurt McLauchlan 021 1962 468

Contact (Hon Kris Faafoi): Lindsey Birnie 021 814 025

Contact (Hon Damien O’Connor): Kelly Spring 021 824 890

On-site contact (Civil Defence): Stefan Weir 029 200 8872

 By the numbers:

·       Government helpline 0800 779997 – providing urgent financial help for people affected by the fires

·      The fire now covers 2335 hectares

·      33.5km perimeter of fire

  • Residents of about 74 properties in Pigeon Valley South Road to return home today to live on a ‘conditional re-entry’ basis.
  • That leaves about 138 properties and 370 people still evacuated.

·      9 helicopters currently deployed

·      14 bulldozers and heavy machines in action today

·      43 animal welfare staff

·      150 fire personnel on the ground

·      104 Police deployed

·      130 New Zealand Defence Force staff deployed

·      35 Red Cross volunteers deployed

·      567 animals at the A&P show grounds

·      03 543 8400 to register as evacuated

 

MIL OSI