Napier deputy mayor Annette Brosnan says the devastating floods caused by Cyclone Gabrielle have laid bare the lack of support and investment the Government has given the city recently.
Brosnan, in a Facebook post on Friday night, said the slow erosion of government services in Napier over her lifetime was “embarrassing”, as was the $2m support package announced by the Government for East Coast communities.
“I’m sorry, I’m going rogue,” she wrote.
“Over the last four days our community of Napier has been devastated by Cyclone Gabrielle, and it has illustrated just how isolated and abandoned Napier is from the services we as a community should have from our Government.”
Brosnan said having all bridges in and out unable to be crossed highlighted the lack of investment in the roading network - and she also said a lack of a police cell, hospital services and cell towers were key problems.
“We have not had a local central civil defence centre causing our mayor a five-hour round trip to see them, and we have an electrical substation built in 1925 next to a river with limited resilience planning leaving 60 thousand plus without power for the best part of a week.”
Deputy Mayor Annette Brosnan said the slow erosion of government services in Napier was "embarrassing". Photo / NZME
Brosnan said Napier’s city boundaries don’t make sense, seemingly highlighting the fact that flood-stricken Esk Valley comes under Hastings District Council’s control, despite being closer to Napier.
“Communities within 30 minutes’ drive of us, who all consider Napier their town, using our services, businesses and emergency facilities - but technically they’re Hastings residents and don’t formally form ‘our’ numbers.
“So much of this is not within council’s sphere of influence or control. There is so much about this disaster that highlights the wrongs with our system.”
In 2020, Napier City Council came under fire from many homeowners who lost everything in a widespread flash flood in the city.
Power outages at a number of pump stations and debris in the stormwater network contributed to prolonging the event.
Two independent reports found the intensity of that rainfall event (240mm in 24 hours) meant that no urban stormwater system designed to national standards would have been able to prevent the flooding that occurred.
Brosnan said Cyclone Gabrielle’s rainfall was unprecedented but Napier’s urban stormwater, wastewater and drinking water infrastructure had performed well this time, until river banks broke.
“I’m expecting better for us all moving forward and I hope nothing more than a total rethink of how isolated we make cities one step at time.”
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