The HB Regional Recovery Agency has prepared a briefing for incoming Government ministers on behalf of the region’s five Councils and Iwi and Post Settlement Governance Entities. Leaders of these entities constitute the Matariki Governance Group.

The so-called BIM (Briefing for Incoming Ministers) presents nine priority areas, as outlined below.

  • Emergency resilience – more resilient power, telecommunications, and transport infrastructure.
  • Health and wellbeing – prioritised support for Hawke’s Bay Regional Hospital, and support to ensure broader health services are fit-for-purpose and able to meet the region’s needs.
  • Housing – programmes to address Hawke’s Bay’s severe housing shortages.
  • Regulatory relief – improved legislation and regulations to ease the planning and consenting bottlenecks that could slow the progress of critical flood mitigation activity.
  • Silt and debris – action to address the more than 1.5 million cubic metres of silt and debris remaining on highly productive land across the region.
  • Transport – investment to repair damage and address transport vulnerabilities on both state highways and local roads, with a particular focus on the region’s rural roading network.
  • Voluntary buyouts of Category 3 property – further and ongoing support to ensure voluntary buyout programmes are equitable for all, including those covered by the Government-led Kaupapa Māori programme.
  • Water – a regional model to replace the soon-to-be-repealed Three Waters water service entities, and support to ensure long-term, climate resilient water supply to one of New Zealand’s most significant productive regions. 
  • Workforce development – action to help meet the up to 8,000 additional civil construction workers required over the next eight years for post-cyclone infrastructure repairs, and to provide career opportunities for Hawke’s Bay’s young people.

No real surprises here, although a number of these priorities – those related to Health, Housing and Water – reach to challenges that are not really uniquely prompted by Cyclone Gabrielle. The effect of the disaster was perhaps more to underscore ongoing issues and vulnerability in these areas. This makes the Recovery Agency — rightfully — a voice for future-proofing, not simply re-building … and increasingly a public voice, not just a backroom orchestrator.

Releasing the BIM, Matariki Co-chair Mayor Alex Walker commented: “The last nine months have seen the region working positively together in ways we’ve never seen before, united and aligned in our goal of achieving full recovery for our Hawke’s Bay communities.

“Despite this progress … there is still so much work to be done. The ongoing commitment and support of central Government remains vital for the people of Hawke’s Bay as we work to address the ongoing issues and recovery priorities for the region.”

Matariki Co-chair Leon Symes“Our people have made it clear that they expect to see visible leadership and strong support from central Government as we continue to move Hawke’s Bay forward, together. We will … continue to prioritise a close working relationship between local and central Government, as we know this is an essential piece of the puzzle as we work to ensure Hawke’s Bay is a prosperous, sustainable, and resilient region.”

Although these priorities involve the turf of just about every Cabinet Minister, the point person for engaging with our region in the first instance is MP Mark Mitchell in his role as Emergency Management and Recovery Minister.

BayBuzz will examine each of these areas and the more detailed plans unfolding in the new year.

Meantime, you can read the BIM (a concise 10-page document) here.


Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *