Cost of blaze calculated

by Anonymous Author

The Selwyn District council said the figure includes all rural firefighting costs incurred by the council and the Department of Conservation as rural fire authorities.

It does not include costs incurred by the New Zealand Fire Service (now Fire Emergency NZ) as these costs sit with the Fire Service and do not form part of the council’s insurance claim. It also does not include civil defence costs incurred by the council.

The majority of the costs ($7.4 million) will be covered through insurance with the Rural Fire Fighting Fund.

Selwyn Mayor Sam Broughton said council costs not covered by insurance will be funded from the council’s 2016-17 operating expenditure.

He said the costs reflect the significant scale of the firefighting operation.

“The council also acknowledges that during this extended firefighting operation a substantial number of council staff were diverted from their normal duties to work on this huge fire fighting operation.

“We’re now back to business as usual but I would like to thank our Selwyn residents for their understanding, and for the support they showed to those involved in the firefighting efforts.”

Council and DoC will each meet their own insurance excess of $195,000 along with other non-claimable costs totalling approximately $175,000, including the cost of preparing the claim.

A breakdown of the rural firefighting costs showed significant areas of expenditure included approximately $2.1 million for aircraft, $1.8 million for rural fire personnel, $900,000 for fire retardant, $800,000 for rural fire equipment and vehicles, and $600,000 for heavy machinery.

February’s firestorm on the Port Hills covered over 2000 hectares and destroyed 11 homes.