A shortage of trade staff may hinder Westport’s recovery from the recent floods, according to brokerage Runacres Insurance, and recovery is looking like it will be a long-term project rather than a “short, quick fix.”
Buller Mayor Jamie Cleine said that the recovery was an “evolving picture,” and that there had been some issues in getting contractors and materials to the area, mostly due to problems with supply lines into New Zealand.
Runacres Insurance Greymouth branch manager Hamish Curry said that the flood was looking likely to be a “significant insurance cost,” and that the shortfall in trade staff would likely mean that recovery was going to take a more significant period of time.
“We’ve been contacting all of our clients as of last week, and we’ve spent some time speaking to all of them,” Curry said. “As of last week, we had nine claims related to the floods. But this is a large event, and so I would imagine that this will end up being a significant insurance cost.”
“The problem is that we now have over 2,000 properties that have been damaged in some way, some pretty significantly, and there’s going to be a shortage of builders, plumbers and electricians,” Curry explained.
“There are only a small handful of those types of specialists in Westport at this stage. Then actually getting the materials that we need to do repairs to the coast is also going to be a challenge, so I think we’re looking at a long-term recovery rather than a short, quick fix.”
Curry said that anyone in the area who has not yet gotten in touch with their insurer or brokerage should do so, as they will be able to help with temporary accommodation and with getting damage assessed as quickly as possible.
“As far as we know, other people in Westport have been putting people up in motels and other accommodation,” Curry said. “The priority for people in Westport is definitely to get in touch with their insurance companies as soon as possible and lodge a claim, and that way the insurance company can help as best as they can.”