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Additional Government funding for Silt Recovery Taskforce provides boost to Hawke’s Bay’s recovery


Today’s announcement by central Government of a further $40m in funding for the Silt Recovery Taskforce is fantastic news for the region and will come as a relief to those who are still feeling the impacts of silt and debris on their land.

Hawke’s Bay Regional Council Chair, Hinewai Ormsby welcomes the decision saying the ongoing funding support from Government allows this important recovery mahi to continue.

“With an additional $40m, the Taskforce can regain momentum and work to restore more of the region’s productive land in the process.

“This will provide certainty for our local growers and producers and support the much-needed economic recovery of the region’s primary sector.”

At the end of last year just over half of the silt and debris work had been completed meaning there still a lot to do.

“With this new funding we can remove and dispose of around 600 thousand more cubic meters of sediment and debris, unlocking a further 650 ha of land that will be returned to viable productive uses.

“$3m of the $40m has been ringfenced for dealing with further woody debris in Wairoa. Some of the funding will also be used for the disposal of accumulated waste and the restoration of all processing sites.”

Silt Recovery Taskforce Lead Darren de Klerk says programming is already in place for how and where this funding will be used.

“While we will do our best to clear as much of the remaining work as we can, the team will be focusing on high priority sites first.

“Today’s announcement is timely as without additional funding were facing the closure and remediation of collection sites which would have flow on effects in terms of resecuring workforce down the line.”

Hastings District Council Mayor, Sandra Hazlehurst says this new funding from government provides much needed support and certainty for the region’s primary sector and unlocks benefits to the regional economy in the process.

“While we are aware not all silt impacted land is horticultural, a significant proportion of it is highly productive and restoring it will see an increase in income injected back into Hawke’s Bay and a good boost in local employment.”

She says whilst the removal and disposal of silt and debris from productive land is key to the region’s recovery, it is still only one piece of the puzzle.

“In terms of the bigger picture, the more efficiently the Taskforce is able to finish the silt and debris mahi, the sooner resources and workforce personnel can be refocused to other projects such as those to repair roading and other infrastructure damaged in Cyclone Gabrielle.”

Chair Ormsby says the reality is the region has years of recovery work still ahead it simply can’t be completed all at once.

“It’s a case of ensuring we remain aligned as a region in terms of our recovery priorities and continue to match these with the Government’s programmes and future funding pathways.

“As a region, we are extremely grateful for this funding injection and the ongoing support from Government in our recovery.”

12 February 2024

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