Our Road to Recovery: Minister Wood, Business Recovery and more
Published on 01 May 2023
Above: Minister for Recovery for the Coromandel, Michael Wood, meets with agencies and community, business and iwi representatives on the Independent Advisory Panel last week
While we deal with yet another weather event this week, we’re still continuing progress with our recovery planning and implementation. Late last week Minister Michael Wood, Transport Minister and Recovery Minister for the Coromandel, met with the Independent Advisory Panel, which is made up of community and business members and iwi from around our district.
The purpose of the panel, is to provide feedback to the Minister on the issues that are either occurring or developing following Cyclone Gabrielle, but also the developing issues around ongoing weather. It’s also an opportunity for the Minister to share progress on what the government and related agencies are doing to assist and support.
The Panel meets with the Minister monthly. At this latest meeting representatives from Waka Kotahi/NZ Transport Agency, Ministry of Social Development, Public Services Commission and Regional Economic Development shared updates.
The Minister mentioned that there will be no comment on any further funding that could be allocated to the Coromandel until the budget is delivered, which is on Wednesday 17 May.
Waka Kotahi/NZ Transport Agency Update
Why can't Waka Kotahi build a temporary road/short term fix for Kōpū-Hikuai SH25A?
The steep topography in this location – both above and in the slip area - requires considerable earthworks and retaining work to form traversable slopes for regular vehicles. It is not possible to do a '“quick fix”. The access tracks that have been formed are very steep and only suitable for vehicles with tracks. Because the ground conditions are so poor even the tracked geotechnical drilling equipment requires a digger to assist them when they are shifting location, particularly if rain has fallen recently and softened the surfaces further.
Temporary staging can be built across the face of the slip, however this too is not a quick fix as it would take several months with a considerable amount of piling work required to support it. More importantly it is very likely to be in the way of construction of the permanent solution., but Waka Kotahi are committed to reconnecting Coromandel communities and working through options for a long-term solution.
Waka Kotahi are focused on getting this highway open as quickly as possible, while prioritising the safety of crews and the community. There are three options being explored for a permanent fix, with a decision made in May.
Find out more by reading their frequently asked questions
Tapu-Coroglen Rd repairs
Our Council’s roading team is working towards a temporary alternative route on the Tapu-Coroglen Road (which is a local Council road). We estimate it will be ready for use in June – but it will depend on the impact of the latest weather event this week.
In the meantime, we’re working on a permanent repair to the road that we estimate will be complete in December.
You can read more about this on our roading page here.
More funding available soon for struggling businesses
Central government has announced last week it will provide an additional $25 million of business recovery support in the regions affected by Cyclone Gabrielle.
This follows earlier support of $50 million to assist the business community with their immediate cashflow needs.
It has not yet been announced how this additional funding will be allocated to our Council to administer on behalf of the Waikato region.
We've received 528 applications seeking $10.8 million in support for an available $3.8 million in central government funding tasked to our Council to allocate for Waikato region. More than 90 per cent of applicants were from our District.
An Independent Advisory Panel of business representatives from the Waikato region reviewed all applications. The 132 unsuccessful applicants were notified by email and informed of other potential support options.
Payments to 396 successful recipients began from 11 April and the entire fund has now been distributed. The average grant per recipient is $9,596 (dividing $3.8 million by 396).
Recipients and grant amounts are available on our website here.
“The fact that we had applications totaling more than double the available funding indicates the level of need in the region. It was good to hear last week that the government was making available another $25 million in business support for cyclone-affected regions. We haven’t yet heard how much of that will be allocated to Thames-Coromandel District Council to distribute on behalf of Waikato region.
“The visitor spending figures from January to March are down by nearly 30 per cent from the same period last year – when businesses were finally hoping to see a good summer after several years of taking a hit from COVID. This is extremely challenging for us economically, when you think how dependent we are on the visitor industry. Tourism supports one in five workers here, which is why I’ve been making it clear to central government that the need for business support in the Coromandel has not finished, and will continue for as long as SH25A is out of operation.”
Department of Conservation campgrounds, tracks and trails
Some DOC sites in our district remain closed due to damage. If you plan on visiting public conservation land, make sure you first check the DOC website.
Tips for coping after a natural disaster
This year of weather events has been traumatic for many, if you or someone you know is struggling with stress, anxiety, or other negative and difficult emotion reach out and free call or text 1737, call Lifeline Aotearoa on 0800 543 354, or text Youthline on 234.
Clinical Psychologist, Dr Sarb Johal says mental health support is important for everyone. When negative feelings become unmanageable or interfere with our daily lives, it’s essential to reach out for help. The All Sorts website has some great tips for coping after a natural disaster or difficult times.
The Lucky Loop Campaign
The Lucky Loop campaign held over the Anzac long weekend was launched to entice visitors to drive the Coromandel Coast with many locally sourced prizes up for grabs. Thank you to everyone who drove the Lucky Loop over the Anzac weekend and supported the Coromandel. You can see the full list of winners here.
There will be more campaigns to encourage visitors here over the coming weeks and months. Further information can be found on the Destination Coromandel website.