Applications opened on Monday for people affected by the recent forest fires who want to access money from the Mayoral Relief Fund
The fund was set up to support individuals and families with essential costs of daily life not covered by insurance or other funds.
Tasman Mayor Richard Kempthorne says the fund will help where an immediate need exists.
He says the outpouring of support from communities all over the country in the wake of the Pigeon Valley fire has been incredible and the relief fund provides a further avenue of support for those in need
“The eligibility to apply is reasonably wide in the hope those in real need are not in any way inhibited from gaining the support they need.”
Application forms are on the Tasman District and Nelson City Councils’ websites, along with information about the criteria under which money will be distributed.
“Since the fund opened for donations the government has committed $170,000 and there’s been generous support from the community through private and commercial donations,” Richard says.
“And that’s not counting the contributions from the various ‘Give a Little’ pages set up around the country to support those affected by the fires.”
He says the fund will be available to support local businesses whose activities have been restricted by the fires, for example, contractors not able to work due to the ban on outdoor machinery.
It will also be available to help meet extraordinary costs of not-for-profit organisations providing care for animals.
Addressing the problem of private land damaged in the efforts to contain and manage the fire, the government has said it will provide financial support to landowners whose land was damaged because of the essential fire-breaks.
Some of the fire-breaks are likely to be in place for some time yet and the full cost of remediation won’t be known for a while, but work is already under way to identify the likely scale of the impacts, costs and work needed.
“In the meantime, if there is an immediate financial need not covered by insurance or other forms of assistance, people are advised to apply as soon as possible.”
Nelson Mayor Rachel Reese says there has been a region-wide rush to help those affected by this devastating fire.
“We were so fortunate that the quick response to the recent fire on the Sir Stanley Whitehead Reserve contained the damage, but it certainly gave all Nelson people some insight to the awesome power of fire and the challenges our Tasman neighbours are facing.”
Meanwhile good weather conditions have helped the firefighting effort.
A Civil Defence fire update on Monday said Fire and Emergency New Zealand had achieved a 30-metre “blackout” zone around the entire perimeter of the fire, a goal they have been working towards for some time.
Work is now focussed on expanding that zone to 50 metres.
The location and elimination of hotspots is also ongoing.
On Sunday, the decision was made to lift the remaining cordons so access to all the affected valleys is now available. However, Civil Defence Controller Brennan Wiremu says it is important that everyone remains aware of the potential for sudden changes.
“Excellent progress has been made with the fire but it is still burning and, as a result, we need valley residents to stay vigilant.”

Spread the love.