25 Sep 2015

Flooding damage estimated at $70m

7:47 pm on 25 September 2015

A report into the cost of the western North Island flooding damage shows the worst affected people have $500,000 worth of damage behind their farm gates.

John McBride digging silt left by floods in late June.

John McBride digging silt left by floods in late June on his farm at Tututawa, in the eastern hills in Taranaki. Photo: SUPPLIED / Philipa McBride

The Ministry for Primary Industries released the report today, which shows the flooding and storm damage is estimated to be $70 million.

Parts of the Taranaki, Whanganui, Manawatu and Rangitikei regions were severely damaged by flooding, slips, silt and erosion when a severe storm brought 300 millilitres of rain to some areas.

MPI director of resource policy David Wansbrough said the greatest impact of the storm was erosions and slips on 460 hill country sheep and beef farms.

Mr Wansbrough said 100 farms have between $150,000 and $500,000 worth of damage to fences, pasture, bridges and farm infrastructure.

He said silt and flooding affected 236 dairy farms, almost 800 hectares of forestry and up to 100 hectares of vegetable crops. Three thousand bee hives were also lost.

"What we found is that there's about $70 million of damage, about $60 million of that was from the sheep and beef sector, about $6 million was from dairy and about $1 million in each of the horticulture and forestry sectors.

"We were slightly surprised at the size of the damage on the sheep and beef sector, it wasn't our initial expectation, but I think the size of the erosion was significant and I guess what was different from 2004 was that the damage was so concentrated in one sector."

Mr Wansbrough said more than $3 million of government support was there to help.

He said it included funding for rural support trusts, the clean-up response teams, Enhanced Taskforce Green, a rural recovery co-ordinator and to help people repair infrastructure behind their farm gates.

"We know that there are 30 or so sheep and beef farms where the damage is really severe and above half a million dollars each and for those people we really want them to contact the rural support trust or the rural recovery co-ordinator and put in an application.

"We are giving the money to local disaster relief funds so that it can be co-ordinated with them and locals on the ground can actually work out how best to allocate it and spread it out and where the need is the most. So there will be a bit of a process that's done locally but those people who need help should contact the rural support trust and make sure that they know where you are, what help you need and when you need it."

Mr Wansbrough said the help was available for all sectors and he was urging people to get in touch with the local rural support trusts.

He said it would take months, if not years, for farmers to fully recover from the storm.

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