Whatever else it has achieved, Cyclone Gabrielle has exposed glaring gaps in government and local body disaster planning and relief work around NZ, none more so than in Hawke's Bay. Is it possible, through the good offices of BB&H, to get an answer on one of the most pressing questions affecting the many farming properties from the Dartmoor Bridge up to Waihau and Patoka?
The Dartmoor Bridge was washed away in the floods and the only way to cross the river at present is by dinghy pulled across by rope. A replacement bridge is not expected for a year and work will not begin until authorities have gathered and analysed all relevant information. Why? The bridge disappeared - what more information is needed? Are helicopters expected to continue ferrying goods and people all that time? And what about the farmers' transport needs for livestock, wool, fencing materials, fertiliser etc? Why not remove the bridge funding from wherever it is held now and give it to the military? They have far better planning and delivery skills - their engineers can put up a working Bailey Bridge in about half a day.