Sorry to be the bearer of bad news but northwest Auckland residents whose homes suffered damage from Cyclone Gabrielle and other recent flood events are now facing fresh delays.
It’s been frustrating to observe, as your local MP, that vague announcements about flooded and cyclone-ruined areas still haven’t yet been followed up with meaningful detail.
Owners are wanting to know if they will have to rebuild or relocate are yet to have this information provided, more than 4 months after Cyclone Gabrielle. And of course it’s been even longer since the Auckland Anniversary floods that beset Kumeu and surrounding areas.
Earlier this month we’d heard that on 12 June property owners would hear from Auckland Council about the broad categories those properties may be in. This would determine whether they could rebuild as before, rebuild differently or face moving permanently.
In fact all that’s happened is that homeowners are now being contacted to ask their view on whether their properties can be rebuilt (etc.), with a decision about their futures not to be made until sometime “later in the year”.
I cannot understand why this process of asking property owners for their views didn’t start months ago. The delays mean more heartbreak for those affected.
Constituents have been calling my electorate office to let me know that they’re living in temporary or damaged accommodation, under huge financial strain and unable to make decisions about whether and how to rebuild.
It’s all very well to advise them what’s available, in terms of government assistance, but what’s really needed most is certainty about the way ahead.
In the meantime, I’ll keep seeking this on your behalf but I’m starting to feel pessimistic that any kind of deal will be reached between central and local government to fund a buyout programme.
Wish me luck.
Chris Penk MP