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Budget 2023 includes funding aimed at cyclone recovery, and building future infrastructure resilience. Photo: SUPPLIED/WAKA KOTAHI

‘Forgotten again’: budgeting for recovery

The Coromandel has been “forgotten again” in the cyclone recovery announcement during budget week, Coromandel MP Scott Simpson says.

The government’s 2023 budget was announced by finance minister Grant Robertson on May 18. It introduced some relief for regions still struggling to recover from a stormy summer, when widespread destruction destroyed roads and communities.

However, Mr Simpson was disappointed with the budget and the $1 billion cyclone recovery package, which was initially announced on May 14 because the package was almost completely aimed at the east coast of New Zealand.

“I was very disappointed to see nothing specifically allocated to the Coromandel,” he said.

“It seems the Coromandel has again been overlooked for the support the region desperately needs.

“Roads are in need of urgent repair. Businesses are struggling, farmers are still cleaning up pasture and local residents are dealing with property damage.”

Prime Minister Chris Hipkins said the budget “includes a massive boost to our nation’s infrastructure which has been tested during the recent funding and cyclone”.

“It is a practical budget that does the basics well and makes investments where they are needed,” he said.

Several rounds of emergency government funding have already been allocated to cyclone-ravaged parts of the North Island earlier this year.

This included a $250 million top-up to the National Land Transport Programme fund, $30-40 million of which will be used to build the bridge over State Highway 25A’s slip site, due to be completed in early 2024.

In the budget, additional funding has been allocated to a flood and cyclone recovery package. The package is part of the budget’s focus on recovery and resilience, with the government “investing to meet the immediate needs of afflicted regions, including reinstating our roads”.

A $6 billion national resilience plan was included, developed to support investment in infrastructure. The budget summary noted this package “will initially focus on building back better from the recent weather events”.

“The North Island weather events have added a level of urgency to our infrastructure investment planning and highlighted the importance of building strong and resilient infrastructure,” Mr Robertson said.

“It was unacceptable that basic lifeline services like telecommunications, power and transport links were knocked out for so long. It identified a serious basic infrastructure problem that this investment will help to fix.”

A $100 million package was also included in the budget to help councils invest in future flood resilience.

By ALICE PARMINTER, Public Journalism funded by NZ on Air