Adverse event classified on West Coast and Top of South after flooding

  • Hon Damien O'Connor

Rural Communities Minister Damien O’Connor has classified the severe weather that’s affected the West Coast and Top of the South as a medium-scale adverse event, unlocking Government support for farmers and growers.

“We’re making $200,000 available for the local Rural Support Trusts and Mayoral Relief Funds to call on to help farmers and growers recover, with the majority on support efforts for the West Coast,” Damien O’Connor said.

“The Ministry for Primary Industries will work closely with sector groups and other agencies to continue monitoring the flood’s impact.

“The funding will help farmers and growers across Buller, Grey and Westland districts along with Nelson/Tasman and Marlborough districts, many of whom are facing a huge clean-up after the wettest February on record triggered widespread flooding.

“Floodwaters caused by two severe weather events in the space of a week have damaged infrastructure, farm buildings, and paddocks, left feed crops submerged and washed away bales of winter supplementary feed.”

A state of emergency remains in place across the Buller district on the West Coast.

Hundreds of people remain isolated north of Westport, cut off by slips and damage to State Highway 67, and support and medical supplies have been delivered by helicopter.

“Mother nature has thrown a lot at residents in these affected areas over the last few months, but they have shown they are resilient.”

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

“We’ll continue to assess whether further support is needed as the full extent of the flood damage becomes more apparent over the coming weeks.

“The West Coast, Tasman, and Marlborough districts were hit by severe weather in July 2021, and I classified the flooding a medium-scale adverse event back then, unlocking government assistance, of which a total of $27,000 is still available for use by the Trusts.”

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.

“The Government is closely watching the impact of Cyclone Dovi across the country today and will provide further support as needed,” Damien O’Connor said.

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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