The NZ Government has strengthened its Cyclone Gabrielle support and is committed to supporting the Hawke’s Bay community in the recovery.
The NZ Labour Government has committed $2.1 million from the Government’s Waste Minimisation Fund (Te Pūtea Whakamauru Para) to boost the region’s waste-processing capacity.
NZ is amid an election campaign, with neither party expected to form a majority government.
Earlier this month, Wood Central reported that the cyclone devastated the region, “splitting the two into two after the Tūtaekurī River bridge was swept away.”
Timber and pulp mill Pan Pac is one of the businesses most acutely impacted by the cyclone’s destruction. The mill – owned by Oji Fibre Solutions – is critical to the region’s economy, employing 400 people at the site and a further 400 contractors in its forestry operations.
After seven months, Wood Central understands that the mill will be operational in October 2023.
The reconstruction has become a key election issue ahead of the October poll. In one of the first official engagements of his election campaign, NZ Opposition leader Christopher Luxon visited the region late last month.
Mr Luxon announced plans for a Cyclone and Flood Recovery Ombudsman, with powers to review decisions such as land categorisations or house buyout valuations.
According to Assitant Environment Minister Rachel Brooking, the support will help with the massive amount of rubbish and waste the cyclone leaves.
“It carried all materials in its path, including household contents, building materials, machinery and plastics.”
“It also severely damaged the region’s waste infrastructure, making cleaning up after the cyclone even harder.”
The latest allocation of funding will go to:
- Hastings District Council: $680,000 to improve construction and demolition recovery at the Henderson Road Refuse Transfer Station, including treated and untreated timber, glass, plasterboard horticultural PVC and high-density polyethene that would otherwise be in the landfill.
- Phoenix Contracting: $550,250 towards a new shredder to meet the increased demand to process construction and demolition waste, as well as with woody debris and green waste for composting.
- Hog Fuel NZ: $875,000 towards purchasing two slow grinders, an excavator and a Trommel screen (a machine used to separate materials in the waste process).
“These organisations play a key role in minimising waste in Hawke’s Bay, diverting materials from landfills and reducing waste-related emissions,” Assistant Minister Brooking said.
“Not only does this funding help increase local waste infrastructure and enable greater recovery of valuable resources, it is also a significant investment in the local area for years to come.”
The grants are on top of $988,300 announced in May for Hawke’s Bay organics processing facility BioRich to help repair its Awatoto compost site.
In June, Wood Central reported that the NZ government invested in biomass and waste recovery after the “Outrate to Optisim” report.
“The Ministerial Inquiry into Land Use recognised current forest harvest practices are not sustainable. In some parts of the country, like Tairāwhiti, there is an urgent need to create a commercial use for harvest residues, such as forestry slash and other woody debris,” Forestry Minister Peeni Henare said.
The cyclone left the forestry sector in the Tai Rāwhiti region grappling with extensive damage and financial implications for industry workers.
A source from the report said, “There is a need to reassess how we manage our forests in the wake of growing climate concerns. We can’t afford to ignore the repercussions anymore.”
Alongside the NZ$10 million to immediately clean up slash and debris in Tairawhiti and other weather-affected areas announced in the 2023 Budget, New Zealand’s government is investing a further $10.4m into woody biomass research.