'People need to heal' - Matatā residents unhappy with proposal to move them on, 14 years after devastating floods

Matatā residents are unimpressed with the council’s suggestion to get everyone out of their homes following a 2005 flood that tore through houses across the Bay of Plenty town.

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This comes after a 2005 flood which damaged homes across the town. Source: Breakfast

The council has been trying to figure out the best option for its future ever since but residents are saying the councils offer has been "nothing short of blackmail".

The Government, Whakatāne District Council and Bay of Plenty Regional Council will put up a combined $15 million to "co-fund a managed retreat that will enable at-risk property owners to sell their properties and relocate to a safer environment".

Whakatāne Mayor Tony Bonne has backed the approach, saying the safety of residents is paramount, but many of those on the ground are not happy. 

"They tell us what to do and expect us to go along with it," Matatā resident Rick Whalley told TVNZ1's Breakfast.

Mr Whalley says the Matatā council made an offer but he has little as one month to accept it, although his house was not affected by the flood.

"Our house wasn’t touched or damaged and yet they still want us to leave."

"My wife and I have lived there for the past seven years."

Mr Whalley has asked the council to work with residents as opposed to making decisions without them.

Matatā resident Michelle Beach says this is a form of bullying and refuses to leave her home which has been in the family since 1953.

"I think the whole thing sucks from beginning to end," she says. "I floated around the house thinking me and my kids were going to die, just for the council to treat me like crap."

"It's been in my family for a long time and it's my children’s inheritance."

A hearing on the plan is set to take place later in the year after residents have considered the proposal.