Tomorrow marks one year since the Auckland Anniversary flooding, which left four people dead and thousands of Auckland residents displaced.
Auckland Council are still undergoing inspections to determine which homeowners will be offered a buyout — hundreds of homes have been assessed but more than 1500 homeowners are still waiting for a response.
Julie Armstrong lost her three-level Northcote home in the flooding after rainwater came in from the roof and onto every level of her house.
An embankment behind her house also started falling, so she and her family had to evacuate to avoid the risk of a landslide.
To add insult to injury, Cyclone Gabrielle brought a tree branch down on her roof, causing more damage to the already uninhabitable home.
“We lost everything inside.”
Her house was red-stickered, meaning no one — not even inspection teams or services — are able to enter the property.
Armstrong explained the processes that happened after the flooding.
“So you get the initial red stickering by people who come around and just have a quick glance, and then the next steps come from your insurance company,” she told Breakfast’s Jenny-May Clarkson.
“[The insurance company] send around people to say what the damage is — but it’s really hard for them to assess when they can’t get in the house.”
She said there was a delay on getting paid out her insurance money because of the red-sticker rules, therefore she has spent the past year paying for two homes, two water rates bills, and she’s needed to pay for accommodation for her pets.
“We get money from the insurance company for temporary accommodation,” Armstrong said.
“That varies between companies but, for us, that was $19,000. It sounds like quite a good amount of money to put you up for a while, but for context, the first week, when everybody was looking for somewhere to live, cost $2500.”
“We’re in our third temporary accommodation, and we are still waiting for somebody from the council to come and assess the house… to say ‘yes we agree with the insurance company, we’ll get our reports done, and you will be a buyout’.”
Armstrong calls it an “impossible situation”.
“I understand the council have do their really big infrastructure projects… but of those people who’ve already been categorised [as buyouts] the majority of them are people that have been affected in the second event [Cyclone Gabrielle].”
There is however, some good news for the Armstrong family.The council will be going to their house to look at the property and hopefully provide some answers.
Auckland Council response
Auckland Council deputy group recover manager Mace Ward said in a statement to Breakfast: “We absolutely acknowledge the experience of Julie and others in this situation.
“Waiting for some time, without certainty, is extremely difficult in so many ways. We feel this weight and wish very much that we could do more, faster.
“We are throwing everything we can into this, including resources from other regions and even Australia. And we are communicating where we have updates to provide people on their property or about general timelines across the programme.”