1491964193985 - Help package for flood-hit Bay of Plenty businesses uncertain

Help package for flood-hit Bay of Plenty businesses uncertain

With 100 Edgecumbe businesses disrupted by flooding the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment is investigating what sort of relief package is needed for the town. 

Economic Policy manager Karl Woodhead travelled through Edgecumbe on Wednesday to get a firsthand look at the struggles businesses are facing in town. 

Woodhead is investigating how long the flooding will disrupt businesses for and how soon it will be before trading can resume.

“If it’s a case of cleaning up for a week then insurance would likely cover that,” he said. 

“Everything will likely depend on what happens in the next two days with cyclone Cook.”

After the Kaikoura Earthquake, a relief package of $17.5 million was used to help local businesses but it is too early to speculate on what, if any, package will be offered to Edgecumbe businesses. 

“The difference [between Kaikoura and Edgecumbe] is you couldn’t get in or out,” he said. 

“It was several weeks before roads opened up and you couldn’t undertake business for a significant amount of time.

“It was a few weeks before they were back up and running again and it was the same in Christchurch in 2011.

“What we don’t know here is how many businesses are affected and how long they will be affected for.”

The weather will play a key part in that  and Woodhead is closely watching the impact cyclone Cook will have on the town.

Woodhead said the focus will be on helping out smaller companies as larger operations, like Fonterra, will likely have very robust insurance policies. 

Business owner Carl Anderson said the businesses were not as badly affected as residents in the flood. 

“Our main effect has not being able to operate,” he said. 

“Logistics and power have been issues but power is now back on.

“Moving forward we’re looking for how we can pull together and carry on.”

Community meetings between MBIE and local business owners are expected to continue throughout the upcoming few days. 

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