Negotiations around the voluntary buyout of confirmed Category 3 residential properties in Hawke’s Bay will continue other month.

Hastings Mayor Sandra Hazlehurst commented: “Unfortunately, whilst these negotiations have been progressing with urgency, it has not been possible to finalise all of the details – and to share these details with impacted property owners – by the end of the month. 

“We appreciate many of our most severely impacted communities will be disappointed by the news that the original 30 June deadline will not be met. We remain acutely aware the uncertainty about what is happening with Category 3 properties and impacted communities is challenging. “Whilst we remain committed to providing people with as much certainty as possible, as quickly as possible, we have to balance this alongside the need to get this right for the people of Hawke’s Bay.”

Mayor Kirsten Wise added: “As leaders, what’s top of mind is both the repair work needed for our region’s infrastructure and flood protection schemes, as well as the very immediate needs of those severely impacted communities with Category 3 properties. Over the coming weeks, our region’s Councils will continue these critical discussions with the Government as matter of urgency.” 

Here’s how Minister for Cyclone Recovery Grant Robertson described the situation.

Government Media Release – 30 June 2023

Govt and councils working together on buying out properties

Government and councils are continuing their discussions on how to share the cost of buying out high risk properties following the North Island weather events.

“Councils are leading the recovery for their communities, with the Government supporting them to ensure the recovery can happen as quickly as possible,” Grant Robertson said.

“At the beginning of June it was announced that the Government and councils would share costs for those in Category 3, along with working together on supporting Category 2 interventions. Councils are currently engaging with affected property-owners.

“It’s been agreed that more time is required to work through the policy and parameters, and to make final decisions on how properties will be categorised. This includes which homeowners will be offered a voluntary buy out.

“While I acknowledge the importance of getting the policy right, I am also conscious people are wanting certainty and to know their choices for where they will live,” Grant Robertson said. 

Category 3 properties have been assessed as not safe to live in because of the unacceptable risk of future flooding and loss of life. Homes in these areas should not be rebuilt on their current sites and homeowners will be offered a voluntary buyout.

The Government will also share the costs of the work needed to protect Category 2 designated properties. This is where the risk can be managed through community or property-level interventions, including actions like raising nearby stop banks, improving drainage or raising the house.

“We had expected to have details of the cost-sharing arrangements resolved in June. Although we are making progress with negotiations, this is taking longer than we hoped. We are aiming to have agreement on these arrangements by the end of July.

“I want to reassure people who want certainty so they can relocate or rebuild their home, that this is a priority for the Government,” Grant Robertson said.

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