Mayor focuses on preparation for tonight and recovery

Publish Date : 29 Jan 2023
Mangere community info hub
Mayor Wayne Brown visits the Māngere Information Hub at the Māngere Memorial Hall

Auckland Mayor Wayne Brown focussed today on ensuring Auckland is as well prepared as possible for any further heavy or torrential rain tonight, and on the recovery from Friday night’s unprecedented downpour.

The Mayor spent most of the day in South Auckland, also visiting Shore Road in Central Auckland. He held meetings with Councillors and Local Board members, senior Auckland Council and Auckland Emergency Management (AEM) officials, Finance Minister Grant Robertson and business leaders, and spoke by phone with Prime Minister Chris Hipkins. The Mayor also visited one of his staff and their family who have been flooded elsewhere in the region.

The grassroots information the Mayor obtained will help improve both tonight’s response to worsening weather and the short- and medium-term recovery.

Manukau ward councillors Alf Filipaina and Lotu Fuli, Māngere-Ōtāhuhu Local Board chair Tauanu’u Nanai Nick Bakulich and his team, and community leaders worked hard and advocated strongly for the AEM emergency hub in Māngere to stay open all night tonight with available bedding, and the Mayor intervened with officials to ensure it would have the additional resources it needs to do so.

The hub is at the Māngere Memorial Hall at 23 Domain Road, Māngere Bridge. Those requiring emergency assistance and accommodation can make their way to the hub now or as necessary during the night. The Mayor also intervened with officials to ensure the emergency hub at St Leonards Road School at 15 St Leonards Road, Kelston, will remain open after tomorrow.

A community hub has also been set-up at Pukekohe High School and will operate overnight, with further updates tomorrow.

The Mayor checked in with Auckland Council building inspectors working in Māngere Bridge, carrying out inspection work on potentially damaged buildings. The Mayor, who did similar work in Christchurch as a volunteer after the earthquakes, was highly impressed with the professionalism, empathy and efficiency of the team. Over 130 Auckland Council building inspectors and 15 additional inspectors from outside of the Auckland region were in the field today.

The Mayor has publicly urged people whose properties need assessment to stay at home if possible, or at least nearby, so inspectors have the access and information they need. As of this morning, it was estimated approximately 5,000 buildings may require an inspection across the region. Drones and aerial reconnaissance flights are assisting in identifying other areas that are difficult to access. As at 2.30 pm, 25 red placards, 17 yellow placards, and 114 white placards had been issued.

At Shore Road, the Mayor, Deputy Mayor and Ōrākei Ward Councillor Desley Simpson and Local Board members inspected a major slip and expressed their condolences to family and friends of a local resident who sadly lost their life.

In their conversation, the Mayor briefed the Prime Minister on the latest situation in Auckland while the Prime Minister outlined central government's next steps and the situation across the wider Upper North Island. The Prime Minister offered further central government help to Auckland and said the Mayor should feel free to call him at any time as the situation develops.

The Mayor advised the Prime Minister said he, Councillors & Local Boards would appreciate further strategic advice and assistance from the National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA). The Prime Minister confirmed the head of NEMA & head of communications of NEMA would remain available to assist in Auckland as the situation develops.

The Mayor thanked the Prime Minister for his support, and for central government’s initial $100,000 donation to the Mayor’s Relief Fund. More announcements will be made about the Mayoral Relief Fund in the next two days.

In his meeting with Finance Minister Grant Robertson and business leaders, the Mayor asked what they believe should be done differently over the next 24-48 hours terms of the disaster response, and what he and Auckland Council need to be thinking about over the next week and beyond.

Business leaders sought information and had advice on contingency plans for the next hours and days, on clean up support, and on working with government on the best way to provide support to affected business. This is likely to be based on levers developed for the Covid response, in addition to any support that may be available through the Mayoral Relief Fund.

The Mayor, Councillors & Local Board members also want greater advice and support for those who have been flooded on how to dispose of debris and waste, and the insurance implications of throwing damaged property away. Advice and assistance on those matters can now be obtained by calling 0800 22 22 00.

The Mayor, Councillors & Local Board members have also ordered that more skip bins be made available in areas of need, and that transfer stations be opened and made available free to flood victims. They expect council officers to make detailed announcements tomorrow.

The Mayor has continued to stress to officers the importance of communication. On his advice, council officers, AEM personnel and other experts will now hold regular media updates, streamed live through social media and the mainstream media, at 8am, 1pm and 4pm each day, while Auckland remains under his emergency declaration. These began today.

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