Budget 2024 Funding To Reduce Flood Risk For Dozens Of Communities

Published: Thu 30 May 2024 04:33 PM
Te Uru Kahika - Regional and Unitary Councils Aotearoa welcomes funding from Budget 2024 for flood management infrastructure projects.
The announcement of an initial $200 million in funding, combined with co-investment from regional and unitary councils, will accelerate the implementation of 42 projects aimed at enhancing the resilience of flood-prone communities across New Zealand.
Daran Ponter, Te Uru Kahika River Managers Special Interest Group Champion and Chair of Greater Wellington celebrated the funding as another step towards building resilient communities and partnering with Government on protecting communities and assets from the devastating effects of extreme weather events.
“Today is a good day for river-based communities,” said Cr Ponter, “We know that investing in flood prevention reduces the cost of recovery and safeguards people’s lives, livelihoods, and critical infrastructure such as hospitals, schools, roads and telecommunications.
“It is wonderful to see the Government partnering with the regional sector to deliver this infrastructure which protects significant crown assets and reduces future losses from flood events”
Budget 2024 dedicates an initial $200 million for flood resilience infrastructure with $101.1 million of this committed, along with co-investment from regional and unitary councils, to 42 flood resilience projects that are close to getting started.
“With the funding secured in today’s budget, regional and unitary councils can commence construction on the selected projects starting from this summer. It comes after years of council river managers and leaders highlighting the importance of co-investment to prevent the worst impacts of flooding – which is New Zealand’s most expensive hazard.
“Works will include improving stopbanks, removing shingle from riverbeds, dealing with slash, erosion protection, and moving infrastructure to safer locations.
“We are encouraged by this Government taking a proactive approach to flood management in their first budget. We look forward to working together from here to develop a long-term, sustainable pipeline of infrastructure investment,” said Cr Ponter.
The funding announced today enables the 42 infrastructure projects to be completed much sooner than councils could afford alone, greatly reducing exposure to the cost of flooding across New Zealand.
These projects build on the successful joint Resilient River Communities programme between regional and unitary councils and Kānoa - Regional Economic Development & Investment Unit that has progressed 55 flood resilience-related projects nationwide since it began in 2020.
Te Uru Kahika Director of Climate Adaptation Al Cross emphasised the importance of building resilience for communities.
"As New Zealand prepares for more frequent and severe weather events, today’s investment from central government is progress for communities and regional economies.
“For regional and unitary councils, it doesn't stop here. We will deliver on these 42 projects while advancing long-term solutions.
“We are actively seeking to work with the Government, industry players, and mana whenua to build communities that are resilient to the full spectrum of natural hazards including flooding.
“A resilient community is one where people, property, infrastructure, and the environment are at reduced risk of disaster and prepared to recover from extreme weather events sooner.
“The recently released Government inquiry into the response to last year’s North Island weather events highlighted the need for greater investment in infrastructure and systems to improve our communities’ resilience to future flood events.
“In addition to the Regional Infrastructure Funding for the 42 projects announced today, it’s fantastic to see the package of initiatives in Budget 2024 to further support the recovery of communities affected by Cyclone Gabrielle and the 2023 Auckland Anniversary floods.
“Collectively, New Zealand’s 16 regional and unitary councils will continue to advocate for an approach of investing in adaption measures before the deluge. We also have a good deal of work to do on a range of climate adaptation improvements including focusing on wider catchment nature-based solutions,” said Mr Cross.
Mr Cross went on to acknowledge the excellent work of Te Uru Kahika River Managers Group for their expertise and role in making today’s co-investment possible.
Te Uru Kahika envisions a comprehensive ten-year approach to building community flood risk resilience as part of a wider climate adaptation systems approach.

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