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Category 3 property voluntary buy-outs reach halfway mark

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A significant milestone has been reached with the Voluntary Buy-out process for Category 3 property owners, with half the eligible properties now having received offers, approved offers, or settled.

Across Hastings and Napier, 167 properties are eligible for the Category 3 voluntary buy-outs.

The land categorisation process was led by Hawke’s Bay Regional Council as a means to identify areas where it was considered future severe weather event risk could not be sufficiently mitigated and there was an intolerable risk to life living in these areas.  

The Category 3 voluntary buy-out programme was established to remove this intolerable risk to life, and to provide some certainty for flood impacted property owners so they could move forward with their lives and settle somewhere safer.

In August last year, the Crown announced a cyclone recovery funding package for Hawke’s Bay, which included a 50:50 cost sharing agreement with Hastings District Council and Napier City Council for the voluntary purchase of residential Category 3 properties with a dwelling or, in the case of larger and/or mixed-use properties with a dwelling, the payment of a relocation grant.

In September 2023, the councils each adopted an amendment to their Long Term Plans to enable purchase offers to be made to acquire Category 3 land.

Of the 85 offers received or approved by property owners to date, 24 (28 per cent) have already settled.

In addition, 86 per cent of eligible properties have completed valuations or valuations have been commissioned from independent valuers.

Hastings mayor Sandra Hazlehurst said it was heartening to have made this progress.

“We know this remains a difficult time for those with Category 3 properties. Our Voluntary Buy-out Office team has been pulling out all the stops to keep things moving as quickly as possible so people can move on.

“It’s a very complex process and it’s not been easy for the Category 3 property owners, but we have come a long way since the process began last October, and it’s wonderful to see families now relocating to safe areas of the district. We appreciate the patience and perseverance of those going through the process.”

Napier mayor Kirsten Wise also acknowledged those most affected.

“It’s a big deal to trust us to deliver the best outcome we can, and we hope this allows these property owners to move forward with their lives. We appreciate the co-operation of all those who have chosen to take up the option for a voluntary buy-out.”  

 At the current pace, it’s expected that the vast majority of offers, for those who have chosen to take part, will be completed by October this year.

19 April 2024

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