Media advisory: Flooding in Southland/Fiordland Piopiotahi

News item information


CD controller addresses ammonia fears

Angus McKay, Southland civil defence contoller, has moved to quell speculation and misinformation about the ouvea premix at the Mataura paper mill.

“We understand that people are concerned about the effects of ammonia from the ouvea premix at Mataura.

“We’ve addressed the situation to the best of our ability. We have a very large cordon around the paper mill due to the flooding.

“We are aware of the potential risks of the ouvea premix. We’ve got a wide evacuation zone around the area. The risks associated with the premix have been considered when setting the evacuation zones around the paper mill.
“There’s so much water going down the river that any contaminants that leach into the river will be diluted.

“The area is still evacuated. We have had no reports of any ammonia coming from the paper mill.”

Emergency services and others have carried out further flood protection works this morning by sandbagging around the building. Around 2,660 cumecs of water was expected at Mataura.

Emergency Management Southland is co-ordinating with other relevant agencies, including iwi.

Ouvea premix can produce ammonia when wet. The risks associated with the premix have been considered when setting the evacuation zones around the paper mill.


Residents of Wyndham and surrounding low-lying areas have been evacuated, and there are roadblocks in place. Police are patrolling the area.

The Mataura River is expected to peak with 2,740 cumecs at Wyndham at 3.20pm today. This is 4.21 metres above normal river level.

Residents of the township and surrounding low-lying areas were earlier advised to gather key personal belongings and proceed to the Mokoreta Hall or the Mimihau Hall as soon as possible to await further information.

A map outlining the evacuation areas of Gore and Mataura is available on (external link) and (external link)

Community hubs are open at:
• Calvin Community Church
• Croydon Lodge
• Waimumu Hall, where people can evacuate with pets

• Mokoreta Hall and Mimihau Hall

• Tokanui Tavern

People are advised to stay at home and away from the Mataura River until Civil Defence gives the all clear. Do not drive or walk through flood waters. The water may have washed away parts of the road and may contain debris. Tread all flood water as contaminated and unsafe. When it is safe for people to return to their properties
• Mataura has been evacuated. Police are carrying out regular security patrols.

• The Gore bridge has been closed to all traffic.

• PowerNet has cut power to the flood zones which are east of Broughton Street. Hill area power is still on.

• We’ve lost the Jacobstown well is out because of power being out.

• There is enough water for 24 hours. People need to conserve water.

• There is some localised ponding at Salford Street, Gore. At this stage this is of little concern as the floodbanks are behaving as they are designed to do.

• There are about 200 people at Calvin Church and 50 at Gore High School.

Motorists are advised not to head south from Dunedin. There is no way to get through. Roads are closed and police do not want anybody else getting caught up in the road closures. Those who have travelled as far as Fortrose and are unable to continue to Invercargill because of road closures should turn around and head to the Tokanui Tavern.

The evacuation of all 232 stranded visitors from Milford Sound has been completed successfully. Congratulations and thanks to all services and individuals involved in the operation.

Southland emergency services have issued a general reminder to the public to not fly drones without a consent to fly one. There are emergency aircraft in the air dealing with the floods and drones present a serious threat to their ability to continue operations. Please do not fly unauthorised drones, especially at this time.

People in Lumsden and Riversdale are advised to reduce toilet flushing as pumps are under significant pressure from the extra water.


The following information has been received from DairyNZ:
• There are more than 100 farms either under water or isolated because of flooded roads – and in some areas waters are still rising.
• The impact for many is significant, with large numbers of stock being moved to drier ground and loss of baleage, which is a serious concern heading head into autumn and winter.
• There are a number of places farmers can get support. Call DairyNZ to talk to your local consulting officer, RST or Federated Farmers. For effluent management advice speak to your regional council (Otago or Southland). Police, emergency services personnel and Ministry for Primary Industries are also on the ground

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