The Government must front up and properly fund the damage to private property caused by the fire breaks constructed last month to contain the Pigeon Valley fire, says Nelson MP Nick Smith.
“Fire and Emergency NZ did the right thing in creating these fire breaks to contain this horrific fire. The problem is the Government’s refusal to assure property owners that they will fix the damage to their pasture, landscaping, fences and driveways. This issue is causing additional anxiety for these residents who have been traumatised by the fires and evacuations.
“The $100,000 the Government has provided to the Mayoral Relief Fund is miserly and inadequate when the cost of this repair is estimated at $2 million. The Government has provided hundreds of millions of extra funding in foreign aid and disaster relief off shore and tens of millions for politicized grants in Northland. The Pigeon Valley fire was the largest in 60 years and it is quite reasonable for the Government to front for this $2 million for repairs. This is a simple matter of Government putting right the damage it did. Providing certainty to property owners that any damage done to their property in creating firebreaks will be repaired and paid for is important in ensuring cooperation from landowners in fighting future fires.
“The Government needs to urgently reconsider. These property owners need to get on with these repairs like replanting pasture as quickly as possible prior to winter,” Dr Smith concluded.