The Government expects to release further details about whether people can rebuild their cyclone-ravaged homes from the beginning of April.
Cyclone Recovery Minister Grant Roberston said good progress is being made with the insurance sector co-operating with the Cyclone Taskforce, led by Sir Brian Roche, to assess high-risk areas.
“We are making good progress, with the insurance sector agreeing to provide the taskforce with a consolidated view of the areas they have identified as high-risk within the next week. This will then be overlaid with the risk assessments that local councils are carrying out,” Robertson said.
Ministers were expected to receive information in the next three weeks and would then be in a position to “agree on the next steps”, which could include informing people in less-impacted areas that they could rebuild, and what areas would need further assessment to determine whether managed retreat was necessary.
“We are acutely aware of people’s need for certainty, so it is important we make the right decisions, not the fastest and easiest ones,” Robertson said.
“It’s worth noting that after the Canterbury earthquakes, it was four months before decisions were taken on the future of affected areas. We want to move quicker than that, but it gives an indication of some of the challenges to making decisions.”
Robertson and a selection of ministers visited Hawke’s Bay today, meeting with local representatives and witnessing the clean-up progress.
He acknowledged that listening to the views of various communities was vital in the assessment process.
“Some people want to be able to rebuild straight away, others are wary about future threats and the resilience of infrastructure.
“I have asked the Cyclone Recovery Unit to work closely with local government and recovery agencies to ensure that we are making information available in a timely and clear manner.
“Again how this is done will be different in each community, but we know we need to give regular updates and opportunities for input.”
Robertson stressed that having a home that was red or yellow-stickered didn’t necessarily mean the land could not be rebuilt on.
“Managed retreat (not rebuilding in the area) is one possibility, but so are other resilience measures, including building or enhancing stopbanks, changing the structure or location of buildings or building in a different way,” he said.
“We have to get this right for the people and businesses involved, so we will ensure the process is careful and thorough and is always done with the needs of local communities in mind.”