The Government’s intent to financially assist the rebuild of Hawke’s Bay is appreciated by Hastings Mayor Sandra Hazlehurst.

Two announcements on that front popped up this week: one to deal with pothole repairs and the other a fast tracking of the consent process to enable work to start on flood protection.

Just over $2 billion has been earmarked for repairs to State Highways, along with $1.9 billion going to Local Road Pothole Prevention.

Of that $1.9 billion for local roads, there is an indicative allocation of $843 million for Hawke’s Bay between now and 2027.

This money is in addition to that previously allocated for emergency recovery work in the aftermath of Cyclone Gabrielle. Many roads and bridges in the Hastings district were left in ruins by the cyclone, with the Hastings District Council charged with fixing them.

Significant financial assistance from the government is required for that to happen and it appears as if that will eventuate.

“The government has created this new Pothole Prevention Fund to ensure that maintenance funding is ringfenced for resealing, rehabilitation, and drainage maintenance works,’’ Hazlehurst said. “We haven’t seen the details of this funding yet, but this is welcome and a step in the right direction. It builds on last week’s positive announcement in the budget of funding for rebuilding our local roads that were cyclone-impacted.

“We had potholes on our roads before the cyclone and there have been more since that event [so] any funding we get for our transport network is appreciated. Our roads and bridges are crucial for the economic prosperity of our district and region, and we are committed to working as a region, with government, to repair and restore them as quickly as possible.’’

Flood protection

That news was followed by a joint statement from Minister for Emergency Management and Recovery Mark Mitchell and Environment Minister Penny Simmonds, which suggested flood resilience work in Hawke’s Bay will start sooner than potentially expected, thanks to a streamlined consenting process.

“Faster consenting means work to build stop banks, spillways and other infrastructure can get underway sooner, increasing flood protection for about 975 properties and their communities,” Mitchell said. “The works will also help protect the industrial area and Napier’s wastewater treatment plant in Awatoto.” 

The streamlined consenting will only apply to applications lodged by Hawke’s Bay councils and for eight specific locations in Awatoto, Havelock North, Omahu, Pakowhai, Pōrangahau, Waiohiki, Wairoa and Whirinaki.

“The recently approved Order in Council makes temporary changes to the Resource Management Act to streamline consenting for this flood resilience work,’’ Simmonds said. “Hawke’s Bay Regional Council and Hawke’s Bay Regional Recovery Agency requested this Order. Making this happen demonstrates the coalition government’s commitment to a locally led recovery supported by government.’’

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    1. The $843m for would be for roads throughout HB. The streamlined consenting is targeted at areas where flood protection works must be completed before homes can be re-classified.

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