Canterbury flooding: Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern gets aerial tour of soaked region

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern has been given an aerial tour of the Canterbury floods this morning.

Ardern jetted into a soaked Christchurch last night after a 24-hour visit to Queenstown, where she held talks with visiting Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison.

This morning, she was given an NZDF NH90 helicopter tour over the worst-affected areas of the soaked Canterbury region after months’ worth of rain fell over just a few days, causing widespread damage to bridges, roads, farms, houses and garages, and resulting in military intervention and hundreds of evacuations.

Ardern posted a live video during her flight this morning, showing flooding stretching across the flooded Canterbury Plains.

A post shared by Jacinda Ardern (@jacindaardern)

“Devastating to see what communities will be dealing with for some time to come,” she said on social media.

“We’ll have a chance to meet with some of the local leaders shortly to see how we can help support them.”

She then touched down in hard-hit Ashburton just before 11am for a behind-closed-doors briefing with Mayor Neil Brown and Civil Defence.

Yesterday, the Government contributed $100,000 towards a Mayoral Relief Fund to support Canterbury communities impacted by the flooding.

Acting Minister for Emergency Management Kris Faafoi acknowledged how “disruptive and distressing this flooding has been for many people”.

“While it is still very early to know the full cost of the damage, we expect it to be significant and this initial contribution will help those communities to start to get back on their feet,” he said yesterday.

“We will stay in contact with local councils to see what further assistance may be needed as site assessments are completed in the coming days.”

Mayoral Relief Funds provide an additional way to help communities bounce back after an emergency.

The funds will be provided to the Christchurch City Council Mayoral Relief Fund to be disbursed across the Canterbury region.

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