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Stopbank misinformation needs to stop

Stopbank repairs opposite EIT Taradale bridge to Whiohiki

Hawkes Bay Regional Council is concerned by the growing spread of misinformation on social media related to comments made at last week’s community meeting in Pakowhai.

The Council wishes to confirm once again that it did not breach any stopbank during Cyclone Gabrielle. It appears that some people possibly misheard or misunderstood the information shared on stopbanks at the meeting.

Having confirmed that no stopbank was blown up by HBRC during the response, an observation was later shared, in the same meeting, that as part of the Regional Council’s ongoing post-cyclone assessment and repair works, some parts of stopbanks blew out under the sheer volume of water during the cyclone.

This comment has possibly triggered some confusion despite the majority at the meeting acknowledging what was being said. On social media we are now seeing misinformation spreading fast which may be causing some in the community further distress at an already difficult time.

This Wednesday evening Hawkes Bay Regional Council will be hosting its next ‘Ask Me Anything’ Facebook Live session. These sessions are in place to allow members of the community to ask us questions about the latest work being done to assess and repair the region’s stopbank infrastructure.

As of 3 April 2023 Regional Council can update the community that the rapid damage assessments work has now been completed and all breaches mapped. The latest information about this work continues to be published on the Council website here:

From this progress we can also update the community that the estimated total distance of:

  • breached stop banks is 5.3 kms
  • weakened stop banks is 28 kms
  • intact stop banks is 190.2 kms; and
  • repaired stop banks is now over 0.3 kms.  

Our priority remains to prepare stopbanks for potential rain events. We have approximately 160 people and 17 self-contained repair pods working their way up rivers to repair streams and drains that were inundated with silt and stopped operating. 

The region’s flood warning system and all pump stations have also now been fully reinstated.

At the end of April 2023 Hawkes Bay Regional Council expects to provide an update on plans for an independent review of the region’s stop banks, pump station and flood warning system – which we look forward to sharing with the community.


Need more info?

Brendon Lane, Communications Advisor | E | P 027 320 3523


3 April 2023

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