New Zealand to spend at least $524 million on Auckland flood recovery

By Lucy Craymer

WELLINGTON (Reuters) - The New Zealand government said Thursday it will contribute at least NZ$877 million ($524 million) towards rebuilding the country's largest city after floods in January destroyed infrastructure and made some houses unliveable.

Auckland, a city of 1.6 million, was hit by significant flash flooding and landslides in late January that killed four people, damaged roads and destroyed houses.

Finance Minister Grant Robertson said the government will contribute up to NZ$387 million or around 50% of the agreed buyout value less insurance payments for houses deemed unliveable. Auckland Council will pay for the remainder.

Robertson said the government will also contributed NZ$380 million to invest in Auckland flood protection and NZ$110 million for transport networks affected by weather events.

“I am pleased we have reached this agreement so Auckland Council can provide certainty for the people whose properties, or those close to theirs, were severely damaged by landslides or flooding,” Robertson said in a statement.

Auckland Council had also submitted an application for around NZ$200 million further funding from the road transport authority to help restore the road network.

($1 = 1.6750 New Zealand dollars)

(Reporting by Lucy Craymer; Editing by Stephen Coates)