Posted by: rivettingkatetaylor | May 3, 2011

help is on the way

Agriculture Minister David Carter today announced farmers hit by the storm in Hawke’s Bay last week are to get assistance from the Government.

He says pasture loss and damage to farm infrastructure is serious enough to declare a medium-level adverse event in the area, triggering government relief measures.  The Minister visited the devastated area at the weekend.

“Whole hillsides have collapsed in places, with some of the hardest hit coastal farms having lost up to 60 percent of soil on paddocks.  It is likely to be spring/summer before permanent fences can be erected.

“Assistance will come through Enhanced Taskforce Green for the initial clean up, along with funding for the East Coast Rural Support Trust to assist farmers under stress, and with practical help such as feeding and moving stock.  Welfare support and farm management advice is also available.

“Many of these farms have had a hard time through successive droughts and will now have significant costs to restore farm infrastructure. They will also have issues with feeding stock in the medium term until pasture covers returns.”

Over the weekend, Mayor Peter Butler, the Hon David Carter – Minister of Agriculture, and Wairarapa MP, John Hayes, surveyed the damage to affected farmland while flying over the area. They then landed to talk to affected farmers at Blackhead Beach. Photo supplied by the CHB District Council.

Mr Carter (in today’s press release) urged farmers who need assistance or advice to talk to the East Coast Rural Support Trust.

Federated Farmers has welcomed the news saying the help is practical and advisory in nature and very few farmers, if any, will quality for direct welfare support.

“There are probably about 100 farms that have been heavily damaged by this recent storm activity while the rain continues to fall,” says Kevin Mitchell, Federated Famers Hawke’s Bay provincial president.

“It’s going to take some time for the worst affected to recover.  This is due to the level of damage done to farm infrastructure like fences, races, tracks and even dams.  The biggest impact has been to pasture, which is the engine room of any farm.

“Yet I need to dispel the notion that farmers will be getting social welfare cheques.  Any form of welfare assistance is subject to strict means testing and I don’t know of any farmer who will qualify.

“It’s really important people realise that we’re in business but like with any other form of emergency affecting businesses, the Government is making practical assistance available so that we can recover on our own two feet.

“The biggest gain to farmers with this announcement is Enhanced Taskforce Green, via Work and Income New Zealand.   Given farm recovery is urgent it means we will get assistance with temporary workers, while those
workers will get practical and fulfilling experience.”

Storm damage. Supplied by the CHB District Council (the photo, not the damage).

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Responses

  1. Holy shit. horrific. I cannot imagine how hard this is for you guys. Stay strong and good luck.


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