Col­lab­o­ra­tion key to get­ting through Gita

The Leader (Tasman) - - YOUR LOCAL NEWS - DAMIEN O'CON­NOR, MP WEST COAST-TAS­MAN

Dry con­di­tions fol­lowed by two cy­clones – it’s been a test­ing time and I’m work­ing with all agen­cies to seek fur­ther sup­port for those af­fected by for­mer cy­clone Gita.

It took an ex­tra­or­di­nary ef­fort of col­lab­o­ra­tion to get through Gita – from Fon­terra’s barge to ferry milk and su­per­mar­ket sup­plies to and from cut-off Golden Bay, to those pick­ing up the pieces on badly hit or­chards in Ri­waka Val­ley – but now we are get­ting a clearer picture of the ex­tent of the dam­age and there’s more ev­ery­where you look.

With the Takaka Hill Road out of ac­tion last week the only way in and out was by he­li­copter so I be­came copi­lot and courier – giv­ing di­rec­tions and drop­ping es­sen­tial sup­plies to the Takaka Med­i­cal Cen­tre.

While the ini­tial re­sponse is over, the clean-up will take weeks and a good deal more of com­mu­nity strength and fur­ther sup­port to get back on track.

The Top of the South Ru­ral Sup­port Trust is ac­tive across the area and will sort com­mu­nity events in the worst-af­fected ar­eas (Motueka Val­ley, Ri­waka and Mara­hau) where many prop­er­ties have sig­nif­i­cant im­pacts.

CDEM, Fed­er­ated Farm­ers and the Top of the South Ru­ral Sup­port Trust will con­tinue to as­sess wel­fare needs and im­pacts – and I’m work­ing with them and TDC to see what fur­ther help is avail­able.

These more fre­quent weather events high­light how im­por­tant it is for us all to have con­tin­gency plans in place.

I’d like to thank the ru­ral sup­port trusts and other in­dus­try groups for their ef­forts in help­ing our com­mu­ni­ties through stress­ful times.

BRADEN FASTIER/ STUFF

The re­mains of a con­crete and steel bridge at the fam­ily’s Old MacDon­ald Farm and Hol­i­day Park in Mara­hau, Tas­man af­ter ex trop­i­cal cy­clone Gita came through the re­gion last week.

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