Monday, July 15, 2024

$200k to flow for cyclone damage

Rural Communities Minister, Damien O’Connor has classified severe weather that left a trail of damage across the North Island as a medium-scale adverse event, unlocking further Government support for affected farmers and growers.

“We’re making $200,000 available for local Rural Support Trusts and Mayoral Relief Funds to use to help recovery efforts in Taranaki, Wairarapa, and the Waitomo district,” Mr O’Connor said. 

He said the Ministry for Primary Industries was working closely with sector groups and other agencies to continue assessing the extent of storm damage and shift towards recovery efforts. 

“The funding will help farmers and growers now facing a huge clean-up effort after ex-tropical Cyclone Dovi passed through, which includes restoring access to their properties,” said Mr O’Connor.

“In Taranaki, where storms struck twice within a week, bridges and more than 100 culverts have been damaged, which will require heavy diggers to repair.”

In the Waitomo District floodwaters swept through two valleys, damaging fences and depositing silt over farms. In the Wairarapa, as many as 30 arable farms have been affected by flooding, damaging barley, wheat, peas, squash, and maize crops. 

The funding will help speed up the recovery of farming businesses, and includes wellbeing support and specialist technical advice. It also enables the use of Enhanced Taskforce Green workers, should they be required to help, the Minister said. 

“We will continue to assess whether further support is needed as the full extent of the storm damage becomes more apparent over the coming weeks.” 

Farmers needing help to manage feed shortages are encouraged to contact their levy body, such as DairyNZ and Beef + Lamb New Zealand, or Federated Farmers. Horticulture NZ, and the Foundation for Arable Research (FAR) are on hand to provide support to impacted growers. 

Support for North Island farmers follows classification of severe flooding on the West Coast and Top of the South as a medium-scale event, unlocking $200,000 of Government support for farmers and growers there.

Helpful links and numbers: 

Farmers needing support around dealing with floods are encouraged to visit the MPI Website.  

Farmers needing expert feed support to do a feed plan or to source supplementary feed should contact their levy body or Federated Farmers:

  • DairyNZ: 0800 4 DairyNZ (0800 432 479 69) 
  • Beef + Lamb New Zealand: 0800 BEEFLAMB (0800 233 352) 
  • Federated Farmers: 0800 FARMING (0800 327 646) 

Farmers who require wellbeing support should contact Rural Support Trust on 0800 RURAL HELP or 0800 787 254. 

Assistance measures can include: 

  • Resourcing for rural recovery co-ordination. 
  • Resource for on-farm farm clean-up. This could involve the co-ordination of volunteers or the use of Enhanced Taskforce Green. 
  • A boost for the Rural Support Trust to help serve communities with pastoral care, including organising local events and arranging recovery facilitators who work one-to-one with farmers and growers. 
  • Technology transfer activities and events. 
  • Other usual recovery measures, which may include tax flexibility and income assistance options, can be made available as appropriate. 

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