“Three months after Cyclone Gabrielle, the Government has finally announced a partial recovery package, timed to coincide with the Budget rather than the needs of people on the ground”, says ACT Leader David Seymour.

“Frustrated locals have had to wait months for funding and certainty so they can get on with their lives.

“The $1 billion announced doesn’t come close to the $9 billion to $14.5 billion Treasury has estimated the damage from Cyclone Gabrielle and the Auckland floods will cost.

“It appears the Government is going to drip feed funding announcements over months leading up to the election.

“New Zealanders need certainty that the Government has a plan to fix the $5 to $7.5 billion of damage to publicly owned infrastructure so they can plan their lives with confidence.

“The Government would do well to adopt some of the practical solutions for recovery ACT announced in early March. We set out three principles for recovery:

  • Cutting unnecessary projects and reprioritising expenditure to the rebuild
  • Reducing bureaucracy and removing red tape to assist the rebuild
  • Ensuring a local response takes precedence over central planning and intervention from government departments.

“Among other policies, ACT proposed:

  1. Creating a Special Economic Zone for Hawke’s Bay and Tairāwhiti where a number of normal restrictions don’t apply, so the rebuild is not caught up in unnecessary bureaucracy
  2. Increasing the amount of financing available and extend the time of the exemption to the Credit Contracts and Consumer Finance Act (CCCFA) to allow people to quickly access finance
  3. Removing RMA barriers to rebuilding and repairing with special legislation so the recovery doesn’t need to wait for consents
  4. Beefing up the Recovery Visa so that it lasts for three years and has 48 hour processing turnarounds
  5. Enacting a Materials Equivalence Register so there is ample supply of building materials for the rebuild
  6. Streamlining foreign investment by allowing foreign direct investment from democratic OECD countries to skip Overseas Investment Office approval so businesses needing investment to rebuild can access more capital
  7. Replacing council building consent processes with private insurance so that people do not need to wait for council consent if an insurer is prepared to insure the building
  8. Sharing GST revenue with local government to fund infrastructure development so local Government has certainty of funding to invest in rebuilding.

“Some of these solutions will bring about immediate relief to affected communities, some of them will help ensure they can build back better and be prepared for future events. Many of these policies have been developed after visiting cyclone affected areas and hearing directly from those affected.

“Recovery is going to be costly, and the Government’s response must be wary of sparking another run of inflation and interest rate rises. New Zealand families can’t afford a repeat of the COVID response where a surge of wasteful spending, funded by borrowing contributed to the cost-of-living crisis.”

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