Flood cash drained

By Zaryd Wilson

1 comment
Flooding in Whanganui, June 2015.
Flooding in Whanganui, June 2015.

Nearly $1 million has been dished out for flood relief from the Mayoral Relief Fund, leaving the account skint.

The fund received 336 applications for an estimated $7.8 million worth of damage following the June 20-21 flooding last year.

It has paid out $943,596, leaving the balance at just over $13,000.

At Tuesday's Whanganui District Council meeting Mayor Annette Main said the fund had been relying on private donations and contributions from the Manawatu Wanganui Regional Disaster Fund Trust (which council contributed to).

The balance was zero when she took over the mayoralty in 2010, she said.

The Mayoral Relief Fund is available to assist Whanganui residents during "extreme hardship" or disaster.

Ms Main said if councillors wanted a ratepayer contribution to help rebuild the fund, it would need to be allowed for in the next annual plan.

"It's a decision for a future annual plan as to whether as a council we want to put an amount aside."

Councillor Ray Stevens, the district's representative on the Manawatu Wanganui Regional Disaster Fund Trust, said the council had to be "mean and mongrel" when lobbying for funds from it. "Unless you are a bully, you don't get your share of the dollars." Of the applications received in relation to last year's flooding, 153 were urban, 147 rural, 28 business and eight from community organisations.

Rural property owners received just under $700,000, the bulk of that from the Manawatu Wanganui Regional Disaster Fund, $164,000 was paid to urban property owners, with businesses getting $47,500 and community organisations $17,500.

- Wanganui Chronicle

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