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Community engagement process underway following provisional land categorisation

IMG 0066 Sunrise Hut Peter Sim1

A community engagement process involving Hawke’s Bay communities most impacted by Cyclone Gabrielle is now well underway following completion of an independent review of the provisional land categorisation data, say the region’s leaders.

Hawke’s Bay Regional Council Chair, Hinewai Ormsby, confirmed the provisional data – used to advise impacted property owners of their provisional land categorisations on 1 June – was now assured following a robust independent review process.

“Our region’s city and district councils emailed property owners at the start of the month to advise them of the provisional land categorisation for the area their property was in.

“We also advised property owners that we were expecting a more detailed review of the initial assessment data, including an independent review, to be completed by Wednesday, 14 June.

“That review is now complete, with only minor changes to the provisional categorisations of some areas, and Councils have been in touch with those property owners directly to advise them of the change in provisional categorisation.

“With the provisional data assured we’re now able to move into the next phase of the process with confidence, and we look forward to supporting our region’s city and district councils as they continue their community conversations over the coming weeks.”

Hastings Mayor, Sandra Hazlehurst, says while the data has been independently reviewed and assured, properties in areas categorised as 2 or 3 remain provisional until an engagement process has been completed.

“Every Category 2 and Category 3 area is unique and influenced by a range of different factors, and our region’s leaders are conscious that councils need more information, including information from impacted communities, before any final decision can be made.

“We know that for those most impacted property owners across the region, ongoing uncertainty around what is happening with their properties and their communities remains challenging. Engaging directly with those communities is the critical next step in the broader recovery process.”

Alex Walker, Mayor for Central Hawke’s Bay, says given their first-hand experience as residents, it remains hugely important for impacted community members to ensure their voices are heard.

“Together, we’re really keen to ensure that we fully understand the valuable local knowledge that exists within our communities, and we remain committed to ensuring that decisions that impact a community are made with that community’s involvement and input.”

Craig Little, Mayor of Wairoa, reinforced the value of working together for the community and those who have been directly affected by Cyclone Gabrielle.

“It is essential we work collectively for the good of Wairoa and all those communities across the region that have been impacted.

“What we do today is the legacy we leave for our future generations. It is vital we do it right, we work together and not in silos, and we leave our personal agendas behind and do it for our people.”

Napier Mayor, Kirsten Wise, says while community conversations are occurring, the region’s leaders will also continue their ongoing discussions with Central Government.

“Together, our region’s councils also need to continue working closely with the Government who have committed to providing funding to support councils.

“As announced earlier this week, negotiations with the Crown led by former Cabinet Minister, Chris Finlayson, are expected to commence in the coming days and will be progressed with urgency as we continue our transition toward meaningful, long-term recovery.”

27 June 2023

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