• Red Cross says it is on track to pay out all cyclone relief funds by anniversary

Red Cross says it is on track to pay out all cyclone relief funds by anniversary

The New Zealand Red Cross says it has now committed nearly $24 million of the $28 million Fund to supporting people affected by Cyclone Gabrielle and other severe weather events earlier this year. 

The organisation said that it was on track to have the whole fund committed by the one-year anniversary of the cyclone in February.

“The Fund is still focused on our long-term programme helping people to move back home or into new homes through the Red Cross Home Bundles initiative.”

“We’ve also started our Resilience Investment Programme, which  is providing grants to help ensure communities are better prepared for another emergency event. The Partnerships Grants Programme is closed after distributing $14.7 million to community organisations,” the NZ Red Cross said in a statement.

One of the most trusted charities in New Zealand, the organisation came under for fire for a perception of slow release of funds raised for cyclone recovery.  

At the time New Zealand Red Cross was adamant that the money it had raised was going to the people who need it in the Cyclone recovery in Hawke’s Bay.

However, New Zealand Red Cross Secretary General Sarah Stuart-Black told Hawke’s Bay App in June that the charity is committed to paying out the majority of the money by August and the rest by February next year.

“We do see that criticism and we understand why there's both heightened emotion and frustration at the fact that people require that initial support. What we've tried to do is get the balance right between being able to put a financial contribution into organisations that are able to do those cash payments right now and quickly because they know their communities and they've got those channels already in place. But also what we've tried to do is make sure that the financial contribution that we are making, either to community organisations or working directly with councils and what might be iwi, hapu or marae actually is finding a unique contribution that there's no other funding for.”

“What we really hope is for people who are feeling frustrated now is that when they look back on this, they will be able to see that we actually were hugely focused on those families, those communities that needed that support and the funding went to where there were real gaps for those families,” she said at the time.