New Zealand launches a global fundraiser for post-cyclone reconstruction

New Zealand launches a global fundraiser for post-cyclone reconstruction

New Zealand will launch an international appeal to raise funds for the massive reconstruction work needed after Cyclone Gabriel swept through the north of the country earlier this month, forcing thousands into shelters and killing 11 people.

Prime Minister Chris Hepkins said on Monday the appeal would fund long-term recovery projects and target wealthy expatriates, businesses and anyone with an affection for New Zealand. Meta, the owner of Facebook, added the offer to promote the call.

“One of the things we know from past events is that there are people out there who have very strong ties to New Zealand and want to be able to contribute,” Mr. Hipkins said at a press conference announcing the initiative.

The appeal will be modeled after the 2011 Christchurch earthquake fundraiser, which raised more than NZ$94 million ($57.94 million).

Hurricane Gabriel hit New Zealand’s North Island on February 12 and damaged roads and bridges, leaving tens of thousands of people without power in an area that accounts for a third of the country. The police are still searching for 4 missing people.

The national emergency, only the third declared in the country’s history, will be maintained in areas affected by the hurricane.

Hipkins said the government was considering “all options” to pay for the reconstruction, which is expected to cost the same as the NZ$13.5 billion spent after the Christchurch earthquake.

The government is under pressure to avoid spending that could exacerbate inflation after the New Zealand central bank raised interest rates to a 14-year high and signaled more increases to come.

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($1 = 1.6223 New Zealand dollars)

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