Cyclone Gabrielle shows climate resilience should be front and centre in the recovery effort

The Opportunities Party renews calls for the Upper North Island Development Alliance in the wake of Cyclone Gabrielle.

The damage that Cyclone Gabrielle has caused over the last week has been devastating for many North Island communities. Our thoughts go out to residents that have been impacted by the cyclone, especially those who have lost family or friends.  

In the wake of the damage, it is clear that we must do more to combat climate change across New Zealand, with a renewed focus on climate adaptation. 

The Opportunities Party Leader, Raf Manji believes that more planning is needed for the recovery of affected regions and to ensure future resilience in such weather events. Raf cites the destructive floods of 2010 and 2011 in Queensland, following a period of extreme weather events. 

“As a result of the flooding in Queensland, the Queensland Reconstruction Authority, or QRA, was established. The QRA, which was an independent authority, faced a mammoth task of leading what became a $2.4 billion recovery effort. The organisation had two main goals - coordinating resources to ensure communities were able to recover quickly post-flooding, and to make recommendations around how communities could become more resilient to extreme weather events.”

Raf believes that the QRA with its operational independence is a proven model that can lead, and ultimately ensure a well-managed recovery. 

Drawing comparison to the Canterbury Earthquake Recovery Authority, or CERA, which was tasked with coordinating the Christchurch rebuild effort following the 22 February earthquake - Raf explains that “taking a centralised Government department model and parachuting it into towns simply doesn’t work.”

Earlier in February, The Opportunities Party proposed the Upper North Island Development Alliance (UNIDA), an alliance model framework that would help provide communities with certainty around their recovery and future resilience to such weather events. 

The Opportunities Party believes that the UNIDA, which would be similar in structure to the independent QRA, would ensure a more coordinated recovery that embraces the community’s desires. And, it would ensure that resilience to climate change and future extreme weather events are front and centre. 

In addition to establishing UNIDA, The Opportunities Party supports investing in long-term solutions to mitigate the effects of climate change, such as transitioning to renewable energy sources and implementing sustainable land use practices. By taking a proactive approach to climate change, we can minimize the impact of future disasters and build more resilient communities.