More than $26 million has been pledged by the Government to strengthen Northland's roading network and help protect the region from future floods.
The cash, which will come from the Provincial Growth Fund and the Covid Response and Recovery Fund, was announced today by Infrastructure Minister Shane Jones and Finance Minister Grant Robertson.
It comes just days after Whangārei and parts of the Mid North, especially Moerewa, were inundated by a ''one-in-500-year'' deluge which closed roads and flooded homes and businesses — just as the region was emerging from one of its worst droughts on record.
State Highway 1 remains closed south of Kaitaia after eight major slips in the Mangamuka Gorge.
Jones said $14.2m had been allocated from the Provincial Growth Fund for roading projects, and would be made available as soon as possible.
He had instructed officials to expedite all contracting with Far North District Council.
Jones said some of the heaviest flooding was around Moerewa and damage had occurred, among other places, on Ngapipito Rd.
"Far North District Council has been struggling to upgrade, widen and correct road quality. I've no doubt the community will be relieved that this grant can address drainage, slip repairs, bridge improvements and other overdue matters."
Another $12.5m had been earmarked to help combat future flooding events in Northland through the Covid Response and Recovery Fund's infrastructure package.
It was part of a $210m allocation approved by Cabinet last month for flood protection projects nationwide.
Robertson said infrastructure projects supported by the Covid Fund had to be ready for an immediate start to create jobs and aid the country's economic recovery.
"Along with helping to deal with the impact of the flooding, we're investing in infrastructure now to address some of the long-term challenges the New Zealand economy faces, while stimulating economic activity as we recover and rebuild from Covid-19," he said.
Jones said the flood protection grant would be made available to the Northland Regional Council.
He said he was confident regional leaders would work with the Whangārei District Council to address flooding problems in that area.
Jones expected the funding would bring forward flood prevention work already planned around Moerewa, at Panguru and the Awanui River.
"I realise work has already started on flood issues in Awanui and North Hokianga. Obviously the urgency has grown after the recent destructive flood. I have been assured by the councils this work is definitely shovel-ready and represents an opportunity for rapid action,'' he said.
Jones is this afternoon visiting Mangamuka Gorge with NZ Transport Agency staff to see the slips first-hand.
Just last week he announced $30m in flood resilience funding for Otago and Southland, an area hit by serious flooding earlier this year.
More details to come.