Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern visited Nelson this morning to observe the damage caused by the recent floods.Photo/Tim Cuff
The Prime Minister was in Nelson today to tour flood-affected areas and speak to affected residents.
Nelson, Tasman and Marlborough have been devastated by a week of heavy rain, flooding and severe landslides.
Jacinda Ardern said the stories she’d heard so far were devastating and there was a risk of further slippage, especially if it rained heavily.
Ardern will travel to Maitai Valley/Nile St from 8.30am to 10am and then to Trafalgar Centre from 10am to 10.30am to meet flood-affected people.
Ardern told reporters it was clear they needed to increase the mayor’s relief fund.
She said the relief fund could meet immediate needs, but not the amount needed for this recovery.
“You see the scale of the devastation and the impact it’s having on people’s homes, and it’s devastating. You can’t imagine coming back after a hasty evacuation, probably worrying about the safety of your own family, and then coming back and seeing your home for the first time And what happened to all your worldly possessions,” Ardern said.
“It’s hard to imagine what that would feel like.”
Again, she said she was reminded of the spirit of community in places like the region.
“I hope we will be working with local authorities for some time to come, especially focusing on the road network immediately after these events. We need to restore isolated communities and connect to the road network.”
Emergency Management Minister Kieran McAnulty said initial assessments were that State Road 6 would remain closed “for some time” but it would be cleared “very soon” once it was safe.
Ardern said they would love to hear about the best ways they could support rural communities, and they would take the lead from locals in those communities.
“It’s the worst period, carving, lambing, the impact is huge and we’re very mindful of that.”
One of the problems, Ardern said, is that we’re seeing such events in rapid succession right now.
“How many times we’ve seen events in 100 years. They’re becoming more frequent, and it looks like that’s why we’re planning, and that’s why we’re preparing.”
She said everyone who spoke to Ardern today had a place to stay and “we want to make sure that remains the case”.
The full cost will come over time, but they are there to support the local community and local government, she said.
A state of emergency remains in place and there are still significant road closures in some parts of the region.
Meanwhile, a shocking video emerged showing a massive landslide in progress and trees being dragged down by a moving earth.
The video was shared on Facebook and users said the slip occurred at Marybank on Thursday night.
According to NelsonApp, more than 350 major landslides are affecting roads and homes across the region, Civil Defence said.
The news site said controller Alec Luferdis spoke to displaced residents at Saxton Stadium yesterday and said the recovery process for the area would be lengthy.
They noted that as the scale of the cleanup begins to become clear, those affected have been moved by how the community has rallied around them.
MetService has issued a heavy rain warning for the Tasman west of Motueka from 1pm today.
Meteorologist Dan Corrigan said they were watching the area closely after last week’s extreme rainfall.
He said while it generally did not meet the criteria for heavy rain monitoring, some areas around the Tasman could accumulate 20 to 40 millimetres.
Corrigan warned there could be more heavy rain in the Tasman on Thursday – and they were continuing to monitor the situation.
In Christchurch, thick fog is expected to blanket the city until midday, with MetService urging motorists to be careful on the road as visibility drops to about 100m.
At least one flight from Auckland to Christchurch was cancelled this morning.
Corrigan said a dull, grey afternoon was expected once the fog cleared, but it was here to stay throughout the morning.
He said the fog would rise from the ground and turn into a low cloud.