East Coast Residents Disappointed by Lack of Cyclone Recovery Minister

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The last thing the people of Gisborne need is more heavy rain, but that’s what they got again on Saturday.

To make matters worse it’s come after the coalition leaders failed to make an announcement they were hoping for – the appointment of a minister who would be dedicated to cyclone recovery.

It’s becoming a familiar sight for East Coast residents. Heavy rain and wind caused power outages, rivers to rise and surface flooding on Saturday morning.

It’s another blow for the region, which found itself disappointed by Friday’s coalition announcement.

They were expecting a dedicated Cyclone Recovery Minister.

“I think it makes it a lot harder for us to get anything done,” Esk Valley Resident Daniel Gale said.

“We will be left stuck dealing with the councils, and in my opinion they’re not doing a very good job at all.”

Gale said he “just assumed” they’d have one, given the scale of work and the importance of having someone to work with and represent victims.

“I’d still like to see a creation of a category called 2W, standing for early warning system. This creates a win-win for those who want to stay and for the ratepayers,” he said.

It was an initiative former National Party cyclone recovery spokesperson Chris Penk backed.

“The concept of 2W works because we want to understand if people can be made safe using the right warnings, then they should be allowed to remain in place,” Penk said.

Other affected residents Newshub spoke to in Auckland feel the lack of a dedicated minister will see pre-election promises around a cyclone and flood recovery ombudsman sidelined.

Newshub requested an interview with the incoming Minister for Emergency Response Mark Mitchell today but he was not available to speak about his new role, or what happened to the idea of a dedicated cyclone recovery minister.

“The Civil Defence review and all that stuff should be separate from the cyclone recovery, they’re two different facets and we really need someone who can focus in on the buyout, the land use, the categorisation,” Gale said.

It is a process that, almost a year on, is only just beginning. 

Source: News Hub