Local Government New Zealand welcomes the announcement of 150 projects included in the $3 billion Covid Response and Recovery Fund, and highlights the $210 million investment in climate resilience and flood protection as a stand-out that is well-needed across New Zealand.
“Today’s announcement recognises the value of our flood protection network, the challenges of climate change, and that this is a national issue that deserves national support,” says LGNZ President Dave Cull.
“Flooding is New Zealand’s most common natural disaster, and is being exacerbated by climate change induced storm events. Last year we saw a number of devastating floods hit both the North and South Islands,” says LGNZ President Dave Cull.
Research commissioned by LGNZ’s Regional Sector showed successive investments in river management and flood control assets, such as stop banks and weirs, had unlocked billions of dollars in economic value over several decades.
Both central and local government assets have benefited, with around 1.5 million hectares of New Zealand’s most productive land, and over 100 towns and cities protected by 364-river management and flood protection schemes.
“Councils have worked together to show the significant national benefits that flood protection provides, of over $11 billion a year, and that it deserves national, central government funding. We’re pleased that the Government has listened.”
Central Government investment into river management and flood protection projects stalled after the 1989 local government reforms, leaving it up to local ratepayers to develop and maintain.
Communities, largely through regional councils, have continued to invest $200 million a year in these schemes, but without central government support, this critical infrastructure has not keep pace with growing flood risks.
The Regional Sector’s 2019 report, which made the case for greater co-investment in river management and flood protection schemes, can be downloaded here.