30 Jul 2015

'Government needs to wake up to the damage'

7:17 pm on 30 July 2015

Farmers are facing silt as high as fence lines, while trucks and diggers line the road to clear slips, as they deal with the flood clean-up in the Waitotara Valley in southern Taranaki.

Whanganui flooding

Heavy rain in June caused slips, erosion and flooding in Taranaki, Whanganui (pictured) and other parts of the western and lower North Island. Photo: Supplied/ Wanganui.com

Heavy rain across the western and lower North Island in June caused slips, erosion and flooding.

Local farmer Stephen Goldsbury has been working the land in the area for more than 50 years and said the repair bill for his two properties - one half way up the Waitotara Valley and one in Kaitoke, just out of Whanganui - will cost him thousands to fix, and he hasn't even been able to start.

He said he has had to sell 600 ewes three months early because of the flood damage, which he thinks will take years to recover from.

Mr Goldsbury has called on the Government to wake up to the scale of the damage on people's farms.

"Twenty percent of the sidelings are just dirt, whole hill sides - and it's just easy land - have absolutely just slumped. I've been farming for 52 years and I've never seen anything like it, you've really got to see it to believe it.

"Silt on the sides of the roads and up to the top of the fences, I saw a farm up above me the silt was up to the top rail of his drafting race inside his covered yard complex.

"Every farm house from my house, which is halfway up the valley, down to Waitotara had water right through it, virtually every single flat is just covered in silt from half way up the valley to the sea."

He said it wasn't possible to see the full extent of the devastation except from the ground.

"John Key flew over it all in a helicopter looking down on it - but you don't really appreciate the actual distraction until you actually drive up the road."