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30 Jun 2022

Flood Resilience package signed off by councils and iwi

A $56M package of flood resilience options, in the form of the Kawatiri Business Case has been submitted to Government. The Business Case was considered and endorsed this week by the West Coast Regional Council, Buller District Council, and Te Rūnanga o Ngāti Waewae seeking co- investment from central government for $45M of the overall spend.

The Business Case sets out the proposed integrated package of long-term measures to improve Westport’s flood resilience.

Francois Tumahai, Chair of Te Rūnanga o Ngāti Waewae said that the Business Case was the vehicle to secure Westport’s future.

“Our community’s situation is urgent,” said Chair Tumahai. “The time for action is now, but it is action that can only be undertaken in partnership with Central Government, Local Government, Iwi and our community. None of us can do this alone.”

Jamie Cleine, Buller District Council Mayor, said the essence of the joint proposal, developed on the instruction of Minister of Local Government, Hon. Nanaia Mahuta, has placed the people of Westport at its heart in planning for future flood resilience.

“Our community has been hit hard over recent years,” said Mayor Cleine. “The psycho-social impacts of the flooding events on the community, and the fact that risk analysis shows livelihoods and possibly lives could be at stake in future extreme weather events continues.

“The Business Case contains a combination of protect, avoid, adapt and retreat options and prioritises the full range of solutions that are needed to make Westport more resilient to future floods, both now and in the future.”

A key component of the Business Case is the inclusion of the Westport Flood Protection Scheme – a structural flood protection option for Westport signalled in the Regional Council’s Long-term Plan in 2021.

West Coast Regional Council Chair, Allan Birchfield, says the structural flood protection are more detailed and more comprehensive than those contained in the Long-term Plan.

“In October last year, when Council agreed to prepare for a more far-reaching flood protection scheme than initially planned, we listened to the community. We also wanted Staff to investigate the likely adverse impacts.

“Rigorous river modelling and engineering analysis has now been completed, and we now know what the preferred scheme will cost. It is well in excess of what we had originally consulted on but we believe delivers a better outcome. To progress, we need co-investment from Government so that is why it included in the Business Case. Until we know the outcome of the Business Case, the flood protection scheme should be viewed simply as a ‘proposal’.”

The Business Case has now been submitted to the Minister of Local Government seeking agreement to co-invest, in partnership with the local community.

The Minister of Local Government will work with other Ministerial colleagues to consider the proposal. If supported the proposal will be taken to Cabinet later this year. It is important to note that Crown funding or financing for any co-investment proposal is not guaranteed.

The final decision on its design and alignment proposed in the Business Case had not yet been made.

Chair Birchfield said that consultation on the Kawatiri Business Case, particularly the structural protection options, will be ongoing and extensive; “We will be working closely with Westport once we know the outcome from central government, and in all likelihood years, as well as continuing to advocate on their behalf, to secure the positive future Westport deserves.”

Copies of the Business Case are available on the websites of both Councils. 


Media contact

Heather Mabin | Chief Executive | West Coast Regional Council | 021 346 829

Sharon Mason | Chief Executive | Buller District Council | 027 248 8380