3 Jul 2015

Taranaki farmer still cut off from swathes of property

2:25 pm on 3 July 2015

A south Taranaki sheep and beef farmer is still trying to access large parts of his property after a lake burst its banks taking out access roads and tracks in floods two weeks ago.

Waitotara valley

Flooding in the Waitotara valley last month. Photo: SUPPLIED

David Potts who farms at Ngutuwera, inland from Waitotara, said it was the worst damage he had seen in more than 40 years.

The extreme flooding left the Whanganui, Taranaki, Manawatu and Rangitikei regions with a medium scale adverse event, and a clean up bill estimated to be more than $120 million.

Mr Potts said he was just starting to comes to terms with the water and silt damage.

"The lake has actually burst its banks and come down and flooded the flats. That's the main access to the rest of my property and it's also the road that goes up the flats. So all the roads have been flooded and all my road fences gone and all the access to my farm has been through those flats."

Mr Potts said he did not think any stock had died in the floods, but a mob of 70 ewes was still unaccounted for.

"There's one paddock which I had about 70 to 80 sheep in there and they couldn't get out of that paddock basically, unless they jumped the creek and went up the hill to where there used to be pine trees. That paddock is completely covered in silt, four-feet deep. So what's happened in there I don't really know."

Mr Potts said the lake, which is now 6 metres shallower, still poses a serious risk if they get further rain. He said its edges were now very weak.

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