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Council’s Tīnui talks not for the public

Masterton District Council [MDC] is to discuss the fate of Tīnui’s flood-damaged properties during a public-excluded section of its meetings today.

The item, called “North Island Weather Event – Wairarapa Recovery Voluntary Buy-Out Programme” is on the agenda of today.

A MDC spokesperson said the matter is not being publicly discussed by the council to protect the privacy of those affected.

The meeting agenda said public conduct of the discussion would likely result in the disclosure of information for which good reason to withhold exists.

Cyclone Gabrielle tore through parts of Masterton district in February, causing serious flooding in the small community of Tīnui.

Some in the small township 30 minutes east of Masterton had to evacuate their homes at the time. The local school was badly flooded, with mud through the classrooms, and operated from a community hall while the cleanup was underway.

The council recently consulted with the community about buying out nine Tīnui properties that were badly damaged by Cyclone Gabrielle.

In November, MDC published details of the $2.5 million proposal to take part in the government’s Future of Severely Affected Locations [FOSAL] programme.

The nine Tīnui properties, with a total of 12 dwellings, had been provisionally assessed as category 3, meaning they were not safe to live in due to the risk of flooding. The council proposed its share of the buyout costs would come from loan funding. The estimated financial impact for the 2024/25 financial year would be an increase of 0.75 per cent in rates for the council.

The consultation finished on December 4, but a council spokesperson said yesterday that details of its results are not yet publicly available.

“Decisions on what information will be released, and when, will be made at the meeting [in public excluded]. When we have information we can release, we will do so,” the spokesperson said.

It was first confirmed in October that confidential discussions with the Tīnui property owners were happening.

“Conversations are ongoing with the owners of properties affected by the severe weather events earlier in the year,” an MDC spokesperson said at the time.

“We are not in a position to specify numbers of impacted property owners at this stage. Any decisions made by the council following these conversations will be made public.” -NZLDR

Public Interest Journalism funded through NZ On Air

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