Frequently asked questions

How do I contact council?

If you have been affected, or you know of people who have been affected and need support, please ring Rotorua Lakes Council on 07 348 4199 or Freephone 0800 020 001.

Why do I need to contact council?

Council needs to gather data that will enable our planners to develop a complete picture, so we know exactly what the community is facing. We can also help you through the recovery process.

What can/should I do at home?

There are potential health risks associated with contaminated flood water.  It can be assumed that all flood water is potentially contaminated with farm run-off, fecal matter from animals and in some cases, sewage. If your house was affected by flood water call Council on 07 348 4199.

What happens when I return home

Your home may be affected by contaminated water and/or sustained structural damage. It will be assessed by building inspectors who will provide advice on that to do next. If you're house sustained water and/or structural damage an insanitary building notice may be issued.

What is an insanitary building notice and what does it mean?

Insanitary building notices are issued under the Building Act and prevent people occupying the building. In some cases, these can be issued on parts of the building, and allow access to other, unaffected areas

When can I return to my building?

Once the required work has been completed and Council staff have removed the notice. This depends on the level of work required.

Is an insanitary building notice the same as a red sticker?

No, these are two different processes carried out under different acts.

Who do I talk to if I need more advice on what work is required?

Talk to your insurance provider, or contact the council building staff for more information.

What will be on my LIM?

If you have been issued with an insanitary building notice, your property's LIM will state that it was inundated with water, during a one in 100 year rainfall event. Once the repairs have been completed and the signed works completion form returned ​to Council, the property file will be updated with this further information. If details of the repair work are not returned to Council then the file cannot be updated and the insanitary notice cannot be lifted.​

What if I need financial assistance or help with accommodation? 

Contact Council on 0800 020 001 and we can point you in the right direction. The Ministry of Social Development can provide you with financial assistance, but you must first be registered with council. The Temporary Accommodation Service was also activated by the Government at midday on 9 May 2018 to support people displaced by the flooding. More information on the service can be found at  

What is the Temporary Accommodation Service? 

The Temporary Accommodation Service (TAS) provides support to people displaced by natural disasters who need help finding a temporary place to stay, while their home is repaired or rebuilt.

TAS proved to be a vital support service for people affected by the Christchurch and Kaikoura earthquakes, flooding in Edgecumbe, and the recent tropical cyclones on the West Coast.

Who can seek assistance from the Temporary Accommodation Service?

Anyone whose home was damaged by the recent severe rain event and flooding in Rotorua, and needs help finding temporary accommodation, can seek assistance from TAS.

We encourage anyone who needs temporary accommodation, whether now, or in the future (for example, if you expect your current temporary living situation will change), to register with TAS now. This will allow TAS to understand your needs and find a suitable temporary accommodation option for you.

How can I seek assistance the Temporary Accommodation Service?

Those wanting assistance to find temporary accommodation should register their details at or call 0508 754 163.

What will happen after I've registered my details?

After receiving your registration, a TAS matching and placement co-ordinator will contact you within two working days to get a better understanding of your needs by asking questions about where people in your household work or go to school, how long you will likely need temporary accommodation, and any special requirements.

Once TAS has a good idea of what temporary accommodation will be appropriate for your household, our staff will present you with options to choose from. They will also advise you on next steps of how to secure these accommodation options, if you find them suitable.

TAS's first preference is to match registered households with existing undamaged private rental stock. If there is not enough undamaged private rental stock, or the household is too remote, TAS will look at using portable cabins, if the site permits.

Is there a cost for using the Temporary Accommodation Service?

Generally there is a cost for all temporary accommodation options. TAS staff will discuss with you what you can afford to pay, and work with you to find a suitable option. Check with your insurance provider to see if your policy will cover the rent for temporary accommodation.

If you are uninsured, or your insurance policy doesn't cover temporary accommodation, you may be eligible for financial assistance through the Ministry of Social Development.​

How do I get Financial assistance from MSD?

You first need to register with the council on 0800 020 001. You do not have to be on a benefit to get this assistance, and depending on your situation, you may need to pay the money back. 

How can MSD help me?

There are lots of ways MSD can help and they can point you in the right direction based on your situation. They can help with urgent or unexpected costs because of the flooding. These could be things like:

  • petrol
  • food
  • furniture

Help with living expenses. These could be things like:

  • Medical costs
  • House repairs or maintenance
  • Replacing appliances
  • Bedding
  • Food
  • Rent
  • Power bills.

Loss of income

If you lose wages because of flooding, we may be able to help, eg:

  • you can't work because you're sick
  • you have to stay home and look after family members
  • your workplace is closed

MSD also provides other help such as benefits and housing assistance. Everyone's circumstances is different so what you may be able to get depends on your situation.

Call MSD on 0800 559 009 if you:

  • would like assistance
  • aren't sure if you can get assistance
  • are struggling to support yourself or your family
  • would like more information​

​Who co-ordinates the recovery and clean up and how are things prioritised?

Council is the lead agency in a Civil Defence emergency such as this with support from other agencies like Fire and Emergency New Zealand (FENZ) and New Zealand Police.

Our top priority is the safety of residents and crew members on the ground. We are now moving into recovery mode which means getting people, businesses and infrastructure back to normal.

Roading crews are also prioritising areas where roads need to be cleared and stabilised and access restored.

How many people were taken to the welfare centre at the EEC and what assistance were they given?

Many people who were evacuated and taken to the Emergency Welfare Centre set up at the Energy Events Centre were picked up from there by family and friends and did not register. The centre catered to approximately 40 people throughout the evening and was able to provide shelter, food, medical assistance and advice and information. The centre stayed open overnight in case others needed accommodation or overnight assistance. Overnight accommodation was found for three people who came to the centre.

How many Rotorua Lakes Council staff are involved?

About 100 Rotorua Lakes Council staff have been called in to the Emergency Operations Centre to help respond. This reperesents about 25 per cent of Council staff.​

How will council choose to spend the money donated?

There is an official process being worked out for how the money goes to those who need it. The fund will be used to address the needs of individuals, families, community organisations and/or marae and their associated facilities and infrastructure.

Page reviewed: 03 Jul 2019 10:11am