20 Aug 2008

Farmers applaud help for storm clean-up

8:40 pm on 20 August 2008

Federated Farmers is applauding news that Taskforce Green-funded workers will help with the clean-up in rural areas hit by the recent storms.

Teams of job seekers and students will work mainly in Horowhenua and North Canterbury, where about 80 farms have suffered heavy damage from flooding and slips.

Task Force Green teams are used to help with clearing trees and debris, and fencing, building and other repairs when there is too much damage for local councils and property holders to manage alone.

Federated Farmers president Don Nicolson says it will take the pressure off farmers during lambing and calving season.

Mr Nicolson says it is very hard to manage a farm when fences are down and bridges are damaged.

Hurunui District Council's emergency management officer, Brennan Wiremu, says the council has had a huge response to a call for volunteers to help, but government funding is definitely needed.

Mr Wiremu says there is such a huge amount of damage to affected properties that farmers are indicating they do not have the resources to cope.

He says a lot of equipment will be needed to do the repairs, which farmers may or may not have.

He says labour is a big bill and at the very least his region would need $500,000 for repairs.

The stepped-up scheme, known as Enhanced Task Force Green, has been used to assist in previous storm clean-ups.

Federated Farmers Manawatu-Rangitikei president Gordon McKellar says he has asked the regional council to seek Enhanced Taskforce Green funding for the Pohangina Valley as well. It also suffered serious damage and tree loss in the storms.