Canterbury flooding: $500,000 in support unlocked for farmers and growers

Author
Devon Bolger, NZ Herald,
Publish Date
Tue, 1 Jun 2021, 1:45PM

Canterbury flooding: $500,000 in support unlocked for farmers and growers

Author
Devon Bolger, NZ Herald,
Publish Date
Tue, 1 Jun 2021, 1:45PM

The Government has declared the flooding as an "adverse event" for Canterbury meaning $500,000 in funding can be unlocked for farmers and growers.

Agriculture Minister Damien O'Connor made the announcement on Tuesday.

"My decision to classify this as a medium-scale adverse event ensures funding of $500,000 for flood recovery measures," O'Connor said.

"The funding will help speed up the recovery of farming businesses, and includes wellbeing support and specialist technical advice.

"The money will be used for recovery grants, to enable the region's three Rural Support Trusts to provide extra help to farmers, and for other flood assistance where needed."

He said they will continue to assess whether further support is required as the full extent of the flooding becomes clearer.

"About 400mm of rain has fallen on parts of the region, causing widespread flooding and significant damage to property and the road network.

"It's putting further pressure on farmers who have been battling drought and we're committed to helping them get through."

A state of emergency has been declared for the Canterbury region.

"I'm on the ground in Canterbury today to speak with officials and farmers about how the Government can assist rural communities," O'Connor said.

"Based on the advice I have received from Ministry for Primary Industries (MPI) staff based in the area, the scale of impact is beyond the communities' ability to cope."

Other recovery measures being considered include an Enhanced Taskforce Green work programme to assist with clean-up and recovery, Rural Assistance Payments to help farmers with essential living costs, and flexibility through the Income Equalisation Scheme.

MPI is working closely with Civil Defence Emergency Management staff, industry groups and others to help with the recovery effort, including the animal welfare response.

"Support is available for farmers who are short of livestock feed, or who have had baleage and fodder crops washed away or damaged by floodwaters," O'Connor said.

The national Feed Coordination Service can help connect farmers with supplementary feed which has been donated or listed for sale.

The national feed coordinator, Kate Wood, can be contacted by email on [email protected]

  • Farmers needing expert support to do a feed budget can contact the Feed Planning Service by phoning 0800 BEEFLAMB (0800 233 352) or 0800 4 DairyNZ (0800 432 479 69). Farmers who need wellbeing support should call their Rural Support Trust on 0800 RURAL HELP or 0800 787 254.