PM Hipkins announces $1m for BioRich in Awatoto

Prime Minister Chris Hipkins announced that compost company BioRich would get $1 million from the Waste Minimisation Fund, on a visit to the Awatoto site this week.

Hipkins said the money would go towards getting the business, devastated by flooding in February, back up and running, so green waste didn’t end up in landfill.

Owner Mike Glazebrook said the money would be a huge help towards recovery, which would otherwise have taken until next year.

“But [this funding] has given us the confidence to get stuck into it and get it up and running as soon as we can and build it back better and more resilient.”

Minister Kieran McAnulty was also in attendance, along with local MP Stuart Nash and TukiTuki MP Anna Lorck.

The Prime Minister also said homeowners affected by flood damage should get answers about whether they will be allowed to rebuild very soon.

“We’re aiming to get a lot more clarity for people by the end of the month in terms of our direction of travel. It’s taken some time to work through that but we don’t want to provide people with false certainty when we don’t have it.”

When pressed about promises of timeliness and not repeating the mistakes of the Christchurch earthquake (homeowners waited nine months for answers), he responded, “I think we can do a lot better than that”.

On the $6 billion resilience plan announced a week and a half ago, Hipkins said the Government was trying to get money flowing as quickly as they could over the next year, while it looked at the longer-term resilience picture and what the needs would be. 

“But we are not just arbitrarily going to say here is the money and it’s got to be spent on these things. We’ve got to do the work to identify where the most important investments are. But the community has got to have that assurance that as the needs are identified, the money is there.”

However, the devastated horticultural sector was still waiting to hear on a targeted recovery package and strategy for the longer term. The Prime Minister acknowledged the frustration and desire for certainty but said the Government had to make sure it was providing real certainty that would not be followed later by revisions.

Recovery Minister Kieran McAnulty said he was listening to what the key needs of the region are and that it would be a locally-led recovery.

“It’s my job to be their voice at Cabinet and part of that is working with Anna [Lorck] and Stuart [Nash] to understand what people’s needs are. It’s incredibly complex … you’ll get a number of people along the same road who need different forms of help. So, we are working with the hort sector really closely.

“They’ve been speaking to Minister Robertson and Minister O’Connor this week to try and identify and define what additional support might be [needed], and we are working on getting that certainty as much as possible …

“There is already enough uncertainty and we know there is a real appetite for people to know answers, and we just reassure them that as soon as we’ve got them, and we’re certain of them, we’ll give it to them.”

He underlined that the recovery would be locally led. “It will be a strategy that is focused on the local region. It’s our job to back them up and give them the resource when they need it,” McAnulty said.

Community groups in places like Puketapu and Pakowhai have expressed concern that they didn’t have a seat on the board of the local Recovery Agency. When pressed, Hipkins said those concerns should be expressed to local MPs so they could be factored into the ongoing response.

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  1. these guy’s that own Bio rich are already rich, they got aa hguge handout from councils when they set this business up. My mind bogles at the incompetence of our Gov’t

  2. How this Government can give a $1m leg up for one business (Bio Rich) which already has had significant financial support ahead of any financial support for our devastated horticultural Industry astounds me. Come on Government , show some real fortitude and backbone and don’t forget the heart. Doug H

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