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News in brief February 21, 2023

Roads closed

The unpredictable nature of slips along Masterton-Castlepoint Rd has forced Masterton District Council [MDC] to close the road while roading crews work. The stretch of road will be closed between 8am and 4pm daily from today until Friday afternoon. MDC said the road would open for traffic for one hour each day between 12pm and 1pm.

Covid-19 death

Another death related to covid-19 was recorded in Wairarapa last week, bringing the total to 49. The region had 119 new cases last week, 21 fewer than the previous week. As of yesterday, Wairarapa had no patients in hospital with the virus. Nationally, there were 8220 new cases last week, 21 covid-related deaths and 162 people in hospital.

Caution urged
on DOC tracks

The Department of Conservation [DOC] urges people to check tracks, huts, and campsites are open before visiting after potential damage from Cyclone Gabrielle. The cyclone affected public conservation land across the North Island, including facilities in Northland, Auckland, Waikato, Coromandel, Bay of Plenty, Tairawhiti, and Hawke’s Bay which were closed to the public for the past week. DOC continues to advise extreme caution on their land throughout the North Island and the top of the South Island.

Flood fund

Masterton District Council’s Flood Damage Fund is in the red by at least $585k. A report to the council’s Audit and Risk Committee, which meets tomorrow, states the fund has a negative balance as of December 31, 2022. “Ongoing repairs to road damage from events in January and February 2023 will mean the deficit in the Fund will be significant and need to be addressed via the 2023-24 Annual Plan. The council is able to use its depreciation and general capital reserves to internally borrow from in the interim.” The report to council said the weather events of June and July last year resulted in “significant” one-off costs. About $1.53 million had been spent on emergency works versus a budget of $0.4m. A higher subsidy rate of 70 per cent had been assumed, and the balance was funded from the Flood Damage Fund. -NZLDR

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