Cyclone poll: Just 7% don’t want local or central government to give managed retreat compensation

A team shovels a pile of silt out of an Eskdale home after Cyclone Gabrielle. Photo / Paul Taylor

A poll has found just 7 per cent of Kiwis think there should be no local or central government compensation for people forced to leave their homes because of a natural disaster.

And more people think central government should contribute to the payouts for the uninsured and insured, rather than local government.

Horizon Research conducted the nationwide survey of more than 1500 people between May 12 and 17 in the wake of the deadly Cyclone Gabrielle and Auckland floods.

The poll result, which had a plus-minus margin of error of 2.5 per cent, comes amid tough decisions about managed retreat in Hawke’s Bay in particular.


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Horizon Research asked whether or not those whose homes can no longer be lived in because of natural disasters should be compensated, and who should pay.

In a multi-choice and multi-select question, just 7 per cent replied that the uninsured and insured should not be compensated (by councils or Government) if they were forced to leave their homes.

Forty six per cent said the Government should contribute to payouts and 34 per cent said local government should.

Sixty four per cent of respondents believed the insured should be compensated by insurers.


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Meanwhile 22 per cent were unsure, and 6 per cent chose “something else”.

The Government has announced three categories (and two sub-categories) for which flood and cyclone-impacted areas will be classified.

However, decisions are yet to be made by the Government’s Cyclone Taskforce around which areas will be placed into which categories.

Prime Minister Chris Hipkins during a visit to Hawke's Bay on Wednesday. He said the rezoning process is being worked through. Photo / Paul Taylor
Prime Minister Chris Hipkins during a visit to Hawke’s Bay on Wednesday. He said the rezoning process is being worked through. Photo / Paul Taylor

Until those decisions are made, impacted homeowners do not know whether their property will be deemed unliveable (in which case they will need to relocate), whether safety conditions may be required such as raising their homes, or whether repairing their homes is all that is needed to safely return.

Impacted homeowners have described the process as being in a state of “limbo” and are eagerly awaiting decisions.

Prime Minister Chris Hipkins visited Hawke’s Bay on Wednesday and stated the rezoning process was being worked through.

“We are aiming to get a lot more clarity for people by the end of the month in terms of what they can expect,” Hipkins said.

“What we don’t want to do is provide people with false certainty if we don’t have it, because by saying to people you’re in a certain classification, in terms of what we do with your land, then come back to them a few months later and say ‘actually we got that wrong’ – I don’t think anyone wants to be in that situation.”

Hipkins said, for comparison, it took about nine months for decisions to be made around red zoning following the Christchurch 2010 earthquake. “I think we can do better than that”.

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