Public Interest Journalism funded through NZ On Air
By Kim Meredith of Local Democracy Reporting
Auckland Council’s new $2 billion flood recovery package has Māngere’s community leaders worried that private homeowners will miss out.
Auckland Council and the government will share costs of the Tāmaki Makaurau Recovery plan that includes a $774 million buyout package for 700 uninhabitable properties.
Māngere-Ōtāhuhu Local Board chair Tauanu’u Nanai Nick Bakulich has a strong message for them.
“Don’t forget about Māngere! We’ve had significant flood damage and we keep hearing Kāinga Ora have been taken care of, but we also have homeowners who have been badly affected.”
He was frustrated with rhetoric that stereotyped Māngere as a predominantly social housing area and wanted to remind officials that homeowners in his community needed support too.
“I’ve resigned myself to being the squeaky wheel, I used to think I didn’t want to rock the boat but when I hear where resources are being prioritised, I’ve been forced to speak out,” said the board chair.
He said it was important for council officials to inform homeowners from Māngere about the recovery package, to help them understand available support such as the Auckland Council emergency Relief Fund rates relief. Bakulich was frustrated at having to frequently step outside his governance role to muck in with operational tasks, ensuring the community wouldn’t miss out.
“The council needs to be in those spaces where the Pacific community are. Just putting information on a website isn’t enough … as well as making information available in our languages.”
With a mix of homeowners and social housing, Bakulich says Māngere is at risk of missing out on badly needed infrastructure investment such as the antiquated pump station at Māngere Bridge.
“Ōrākei has a very modern pump station. How do we update the one at Māngere Bridge and ensure its fit for purpose?
“The resources are limited … and in layman’s terms, we want to be near the front of the queue, this is about addressing inequity.”
He was concerned that without the “know-how” to navigate bureaucracy and government processes (such as understanding the different property categories and the impact to homeowners) his community wouldn’t be able to fully access available support.
Bakulich urged affected homeowners to attend the Auckland Council online webinar tonight (Sept 5, 6.30pm – 7.45pm) especially for Auckland homeowners whose property or neighbourhood was impacted by severe weather in early 2023. It would cover the following areas:
· The different property categories in the Government risk framework and what it means for you
· The difference between property categorisation and coloured placards/stickers
· How high-risk properties are identified
· Update on the property buyout process
· Answering your frequently asked questions (submitted prior to the webinar)
Households badly affected by the Anniversary weekend storms and Cyclone Gabrielle find out next month if their homes are salvageable. Public consultation on the Tāmaki Makaurau Recovery plan opens mid-September for two weeks. Submissions can be made online on the Auckland Council website or at local libraries. Links can also be found on local boards’ FB pages.