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Buyout offers linked to category

The government has agreed to “enter into a funding arrangement” with councils in cyclone and flood-affected regions to support them by offering a voluntary buyout for owners of Category Three designated residential properties.

It will also co-fund work needed to protect Category Two designated properties.

Masterton District Council said that although it has four yellow and three white placarded buildings after Cyclone Gabrielle, the categories listed by the government were not the same as the placards.

“They relate to land rather than buildings. No such designations have yet been made in the Masterton District.”

“The council will be developing the process for categorisation in the Masterton District, based on the experience of councils in Hawke’s Bay and Auckland.”

Associate Minister of Finance Michael Wood said there could be some properties in other cyclone-affected regions such as Northland and Wairarapa that are designated as categories two and three.

Minister of Finance and Minister of Cyclone Recovery Grant Robertson said for properties designated Category Two, the government will work with councils to help them build flood protection and other resilience measures.

Wood said initial indications showed that there were about 700 Category Three properties and up to 10,000 homes in Category Two areas across the nation.

“There is no precedent for the response required, but we do know that with climate change, there will be more events like this in the future,” Robertson said.

He said people in homes designated as Category Three properties [where future severe weather event risk cannot be sufficiently mitigated] will be offered a voluntary buyout by councils – the costs of which will ultimately be shared between the Government and councils.

Decisions on the details of how the voluntary buyout process will work will be made in the coming weeks.

“This will include the criteria for the valuation of Category Three properties, the split of costs between councils and central Government and the treatment of uninsured properties.”

Robertson said that the primary focus is on residential properties.

“We are working with sectors, such as the horticulture sector, on possible targeted support for commercial operators and on regional plans that will provide overall support for recovery and rebuild.”

He said the funding would help councils get the right solution in the right place and avoid significant financial hardship for property owners.

Robertson said the government is committed to providing funding to support councils and will work through the details with them on how that will work in practice for both Category Two and Three properties.

He said he expected that this would be “resolved” in June.

Grace Prior
Grace Prior
Grace Prior is a senior reporter at the Wairarapa Times-Age with a keen interest in environmental issues. Grace is the paper’s health reporter and regularly covers the rural sector, weather, Greater Wellington Regional Council, and coastal stories.

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