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Source: New Zealand Government

Funding of $22.9 million will support:

 Protecting the Westport urban area from flooding through structural flood protection

  • Avoiding future flood risk, by supporting the councils to strengthen planning provisions
  • Enhancing activities to build the resilience of exposed property or neighbourhoods, and an increase in civil defence and emergency management capability
  • Relocating growth away from flood risk by facilitating development and growth in lower-risk areas

The Government is getting behind the Westport community to further build its resilience and better protect it from future flooding, Prime Minister Chris Hipkins announced today.

“Westport’s low-lying location between the Buller River, the Orowaiti Estuary and the coast makes it highly vulnerable to flooding,” Chris Hipkins said.

“Buller was dealt a rough blow with two serious flooding events in the last two years. In the July 2021 event almost a quarter of all homes in Westport needed repair and more than 2000 people were forced to evacuate.

“This funding has both an immediate and longer-term focus. It will help with design and delivery of flood protection, such as stopbanks, and support people to protect their homes with property and community level resilience measures.

“Flood protection alone will not be enough to ensure the long-term future of Westport. This is why the Government is also funding work on a structure plan for development on higher ground in Alma Road in Westport.

“This builds on recent Government investment in this area. Westport received $17 million in 2021 for a temporary accommodation village, along with a further $13.6 million from the Government’s Infrastructure Acceleration Fund in 2022 for transport and water infrastructure in Alma Road,” Chris Hipkins said.

“The community has really stepped up and supported each other through the recent flooding events, supported by a $100 million recovery package from the Government,” Local Government Minister Kieran McAnulty said.

“That package helped Buller District Council restore damaged infrastructure including Westport Port wharf and roading, reinstate water infrastructure and assist flood-hit communities to get back on their feet.

“After these devastating floods, it’s crucial central government partners with and supports this community in the long term to become more resilient. No-one wants to see more families losing their homes, or businesses shut down due to flooding. We will be continuing to work with the West Coast Regional Council, the Buller District Council, and Te Rūnanga o Ngāti Waewae to get these new projects underway as soon as possible.

“As extreme weather events become more frequent, it’s essential we help this community protect itself against flood risks.

“This approach is at the heart of the Government’s wider response to improving community resilience and recovering from events such as Cyclone Gabrielle.