24 Jun 2015

Floods not as bad as in 2004 - Govt

7:01 am on 24 June 2015

The Government says the weekend floods that wreaked havoc in the lower North Island did not quite reach the scale of the 2004 storm.

Flooding near Moerewa on Saturday night.

Photo: Mike Butler

It declared a medium scale adverse event in the Manawatu-Whanganui and Taranaki regions.

The declaration triggered extra Government support for affected areas, including $100,000 of funding for Rural Support Trusts, and assistance payments for farmers who had lost their source of income.

People in some areas like the Waitotara Valley who have been without power and cut off for several days now said this event was worse than the 2004 storm.

Flooding in Waitotara valley.

Flooding in Waitotara valley. Photo: Supplied

But Primary Industries Minister Nathan Guy said while pockets of country had suffered more damage, the latest floods did not quite measure up to the scale of 2004, which was judged to be a large scale event.

National MP, Nathan Guy.

National MP, Nathan Guy. Photo: RNZ / Alexander Robertson

"But it's certainly getting up there. If you look at the different river catchments, this is an 85-year event in Whanganui and in some of those other river catchments, the Whangaehu and Turokina, some are saying it's a hundred year event.

"The difference is of course in 2004 that occured in the summer months and this one's occured in the winter months, so of course you've got more water logged soils and a bit more difficulty in trying to get new pasture established, leading into the winter months.

"There will be pockets that are worse. MPI has a set criteria thatn they look into. They seek a lot of advice in making that decision.

"It's about the magnitude of the event, the physical impact, the ability of the community to cope, both economically and socially, so they've analysed all of those different moving parts and decided that it suits a medium scale adverse event declaration."

Mr Guy said MPI would continue monitoring conditions very closely and a recovery coordinator will be appointed.