Hipkins said New Zealand had yet to reach the threshold of a national emergency declared only twice so far, due to the 2011 Christchurch earthquake and the COVID-19 pandemic.
Key officials meet every four hours to review the declaration.
By Monday afternoon, at least seven states of emergency had been declared in Northland, Auckland, Waikato, Hauraki, Coromandel, Opotiki and Tairawhiti.
Auckland has maintained a regional state of emergency since January 27, when New Zealand’s largest city endured a record 245mm of rainfall in a 24-hour period.
The deluge caused widespread flooding, rendering hundreds of homes uninhabitable and killing four people.
Cleanup is incomplete and 150-250 mm of rain is expected over the next three days, threatening more flooding and slips that could wipe out infrastructure and homes.
Elsewhere in New Zealand, reports of localized damage have flowed.
All major roads in the Coromandel and Tairawhiti areas have been closed due to slips and fallen trees, with more than 100mm of rain expected by noon Monday in some areas.
Homes in Whakatane, Onepoto, Tolaga Bay and Whangarei were evacuated after 184 mm of rain fell in the 24 hours to 9am on Monday.
One man is believed to have died following reports of a boat missing near Great Barrier Island, and the search was deemed dangerous in dangerous conditions.
Emergency management officials have confirmed that 58,000 people are without power due to high winds.
Emergency services attended over 220 wind-related calls overnight.
“Roofs lifting off houses. Blown out windows. There are several places where trees have fallen on houses. Lots of fallen trees on the roads and power lines are down,” said a spokesperson for NZ Fire and Emergency. said Vaughan Mackereth, a
Air New Zealand canceled all flights to and from Auckland and a range of regional airports on Monday, gaining 45,000 customers.
Auckland ferries, trains and many intercity buses have also been cancelled.
Cook Strait ferries have been canceled ahead of time as severe weather moves further south on Tuesday when the capital city of Wellington encounters severe gales.
The effects of Cyclone Gabriel are likely to be felt across New Zealand until Wednesday, with tracking maps suggesting the storm is heading south to the Coromandel and east over the Bay of Plenty and Tairawhiti.
https://www.smh.com.au/world/oceania/roofs-lifting-off-homes-people-evacuated-as-cyclone-gabrielle-lashes-new-zealand-20230213-p5ck8h.html?ref=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_source=rss_world Cyclone Gabriel hits New Zealand