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TCDC Mayor Len Salt (left) and Civil Defence Minister Kieran McAnulty at Thames this week. PHOTO: SUPPLIED/TCDC

State of Emergency declared in Coromandel 

Thames-Coromandel’s Mayor Len Salt has declared a pre-emptive declaration of emergency in the district this afternoon.

A state of emergency can be declared when there is an event that might cause loss of life or property, which cannot be dealt with by emergency services in the normal fashion.

“The reason I have done this is because we have an unfolding situation with vulnerable communities, vulnerable people and an emerging situation where we have the potential for land slips and further erosion that we need to manage,” Mayor Salt said

“The main area affected is the west coast, the Thames Coast, from Ruamahunga northward. By declaring a state of emergency we are empowering our agencies and our emergency support services and our staff to be able to manage this situation in a way that protects property and keeps people safe and out of harm’s way.”

Mayor Salt said the situation was weather dependent and would depend, to some degree, on the extent to which the damage that has already been done by water and rainfall continued to make the hills and catchment areas vulnerable to further slips.

“There is some rain expected over the weekend but we’re hoping for some fine weather to settle the situation down to some degree. The east coast is less affected and can be accessed from the south, but the situation can change at short notice,” he said.

“Most people visiting and most of the residents of Thames-Coromandel District will not be aware there is a state of emergency in place. If you are out and about visiting, please keep up to date with road conditions and take care out there everyone.”

Meanwhile, a series of public information meetings are to be hosted by Coromandel MP Scott Simpson to help brief and inform local people, businesses, and road users on the status of the Peninsula’s battered roading network.

“Over the last couple of weeks, we have experienced an enormous level of rainfall which has devastated our region’s transport network and caused a portion of State Highway 25A to collapse. Naturally, we need this main arterial highway re-opened as soon as possible, but it is massive task and people should be prepared for a lengthy closure,” Mr Simpson said.

“Once conditions have stabilised NZTA will be in a better position to advise their plan and timetable. I’ll be pushing them hard to provide as much information to the public and all road users as soon as they can. To this end, I’ve organised public meetings in Thames, Whangamata, and Whitianga which will include briefings from NZTA and TCDC representatives.”

These will be held on Friday, February 17:
10.00am – 11.30am Whitianga, Town Hall
1.30pm – 3.00pm Whangamata, Memorial Hall
6.00pm – 7.30pm Thames, Civic Centre

What does a state of emergency mean for the Coromandel?

During a state of emergency, emergency services are given additional power that will allow them to respond to and manage risk more efficiently. This can include evacuating people from at-risk areas and inspecting and accessing private property to assess or manage risk such as land slips or flooding.

It also means that council services have greater and more efficient access to national resources.

Can I still travel throughout the Coromandel during a state of emergency?

Due to the dynamic nature of hazards around our district, council is strongly discouraging anyone from travelling around the district unless necessary.

Some local roads and State Highways are closed due to land slips with the potential for more closures in the coming days. Please visit for an up-to-date list of closed and compromised roads.

For State Highways, keep an eye on their website or contact 0800 4 HIGHWAYS (0800 44 44 49).