Funding for temporary accommodation
Building and Housing Minister Dr Nick Smith today visited Kaikoura with local MP Stuart Smith to assess the environmental, building and housing impacts of the quake, during which he announced $500,000 for a Temporary Accommodation Service for displaced people.
“There has been significant displacement of people, with 117 residential properties red stickered and about 430 yellow stickered. The purpose of the Temporary Accommodation Service is to provide post-emergency assistance to help people find appropriate housing while their homes are repaired or replaced. The service proved essential in Christchurch in helping more than 6500 families find suitable temporary accommodation. There are differences in Kaikoura, Hurunui and Marlborough that we need to take into account but we have learned a lot from the Christchurch experience about how to make the service work.
“The housing situation in Kaikoura faces not only the extra pressure of people being displaced from their homes but also significant vacancies in the accommodation sector from the lack of tourists. There will also be strong demand for worker accommodation for the hundreds of construction staff required to rebuild the highway, homes and community infrastructure.
“This Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment service will need to keep up to date with these changing accommodation pressures, help people find workable solutions and keep the Government well informed on what additional initiatives may be required. The $500,000 was approved today and is to maintain the service until July, when the need will be re-evaluated.
“I saw first-hand today the unique needs of some of the residents who have been displaced, such as farmers and those living in very rural locations. The Temporary Accommodation team is working to find appropriate solutions for everyone who has been displaced, including those with specific needs, and already more than 50 households have registered.
“I also met council officials, as I want to ensure they have the support they need for the large number of building inspections they have already done and continue to do. Following the Christchurch earthquake, a new field guide for assessments and training after an earthquake event was developed. This quake was the first time it had been used, and it should give the public confidence in the quality and consistency of the initial assessments being done by the council.”
Dr Smith also inspected the roading and infrastructure repair works and was impressed with progress.
“We need to take a very pragmatic view of managing environmental impacts during the reconstruction. Mother Nature has dumped tens of millions of tonnes of rock and rubble into the rivers and coastal environments and we should not be precious about some relatively small additions needed to re-instate key infrastructure. There will also need to be significant engineering works, including dredging of the South Bay harbour. Emergency changes being made to the Resource Management Act by the Government will ensure bureaucracy does not inhibit getting Kaikoura back on its feet.
“The people of Kaikoura and the surrounding areas have suffered a life-changing event and the Government is doing all it can to support them in getting through it.”
Anyone needing temporary accommodation support should visit www.temporaryaccommodation.mbie.govt.nz or call 0800 673 227 to discuss their requirements.