Nelson City Council elected members agreed on Thursday, 19 October 2023, to a cost-sharing package with central government worth up to $12.3 million to support the city’s recovery from the severe weather event in August 2022.
Community consultation will take place on one aspect of the package; a proposal to buy out up to 14 affected properties.
“Today’s Council decision to formally accept the Government’s offer is another important step in our recovery work,” says Nelson Mayor Nick Smith. “The decision is consistent with our objectives of building back better, supporting families with badly damaged properties and managing the cost pressures on ratepayers.”
The decision to authorise the Chief Executive to enter into an agreement with the Crown, subject to consultation, follows the offer from central government in August 2023 of up to $12.3 million in a package of recovery measures that include:
- Up to $6 million for the betterment of slips on Council-owned land that are affecting residential properties;
- A lump sum of $300,000 to monitor the Tāhunanui Slump, which will cover a period of 10 years at $30,000 per annum;
- Up to $6 million as a 50% contribution to support the buyout of up to 14 properties where the landslide risk is too high for those property owners to return to their homes and the cost to mitigate that risk is prohibitive.
In addition, central government has made a commitment that an accommodation allowance will be made available to families experiencing acute financial hardship where they are paying a mortgage on a home they cannot live in and their insurance-funded support to cover the cost of a rental property has run out.
Elected members have agreed to consult with the community on the private property buyout measure, as part of the consultation on the Long Term Plan 2024-34, expected to occur in March-April 2024. This package is based on 50% of any buyouts with a cap of $6 million and will require Council to fund its 50% share of the buyouts and associated costs.
On the flipside, the $6 million betterment portion of the offer will reduce the $17.3 million of expenditure approved by Council in May 2023 to address slips originating on Council land. It means the costs to Council of that portion of work will decrease to $11.3 million.
Mayor Nick says for the families still affected by the August 2022 weather event, this support package provides a way forward.
“The next step is for Council to formally consult, as is required by the Local Government Act, on the support package for buying out affected property owners. Unlike the North Island Councils, Nelson City Council does not have access to the special legislation passed in the wake of Cyclone Gabrielle that enabled a truncated process. This consultation will take some time but will provide the public and affected property owners with the opportunity to comment and have input into the principles for the buyouts.
“These families are in limbo with few options on a way forward. I’m pleased that after extensive lobbying for additional government support to help these residents and offset the cost to ratepayers, this cost-sharing package was offered to Council. The package is similar to government support offered to North Island communities affected by Cyclone Gabrielle and the Auckland rainfall events.”