New Zealand Allocates NZ$1.1 Billion for Cyclone Gabrielle and Flood Recovery Efforts


In a significant move to aid the recovery of communities affected by Cyclone Gabrielle and subsequent flooding, the New Zealand government has announced an allocation of NZ$1.1 billion from the 2023 budget. The funds will be primarily utilized for essential infrastructure rebuilding, including roads, rail networks, and schools, as well as flood protection measures. Cyclone Gabrielle wreaked havoc across parts of the North Island in February, claiming the lives of 11 individuals. The torrential rainfall during the cyclone caused flash floods, particularly impacting Auckland, the country’s largest city. With the estimation of the disasters’ cost amounting to as much as NZ$14.5 billion, this event stands as New Zealand’s most expensive catastrophe since the devastating 2011 Canterbury earthquakes that severely impacted Christchurch. As part of the recovery initiative, the government’s statement outlined an investment of $941 million in total operating expenses and $195 million in capital expenditures.

Prime Minister Chris Hipkins expressed that the recovery package aims to address immediate needs while fostering greater resilience for the future. The allocated funds will facilitate the restoration of roads, rail networks, and schools to their pre-disaster condition, allowing communities to regain a sense of normalcy expeditiously. In response to pressure from the main opposition party, the government has assured that no major new taxes will be introduced in this year’s budget to fund the recovery efforts. Additionally, the earmarked funding will extend its support to various areas, including child mental health services in heavily affected regions like Hawkes Bay and Tairawhiti, employment training programs, and enhanced flood protection measures.

Cyclone Gabrielle left a trail of widespread destruction as it struck the northernmost region of the North Island before tracking down the east coast. Insurance companies have already received approximately 40,000 claims amounting to around NZ$890 million for damages resulting from the cyclone. With this substantial financial commitment, the New Zealand government aims to facilitate a comprehensive recovery, fostering resilience and aiding affected communities in their journey towards rebuilding and restoration.


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