18 Nov 2016

$5 million support package for quake-hit farmers

2:43 pm on 18 November 2016

The government has announced a $5 million post-quake support package for the primary sector in the Hurunui, Kaikoura and Marlborough districts.

The effluent pond at Simon Mackle's dairy farm is being used to dump milk that is unable to be shipped out of the dairy farm.

The effluent pond at this dairy farm is being used to dump milk that is unable to be shipped out of the dairy farm. Photo: RNZ / Claire Eastham-Farrelly

Primary Industries Minister Nathan Guy said Monday's earthquake had a major impact on farmers, fishers, growers and the wine industry.

The government earmarked $4 million to help with non-insurable assets such as tracks, on-farm bridges and water infrastructure.

Money would also be given to support rural recovery co-ordinators and support trusts, and for emergency payments for farmers in real hardship.

"Many farms remain isolated due to road closures and some dairy farmers are having to spread milk back on pasture in a controlled way. Most have backup power but lack of supplies is an issue for more isolated farms.

"MPI is also working closely with the Kaikoura community to analyse the impact the earthquake has had on local fisheries.

"The seabed was lifted several metres out of the water along 100km of coastline, dramatically altering paua and crayfish habitat.

Primary Industries Minister Nathan Guy announcing a support package for quake-affected farmers.

Primary Industries Minister Nathan Guy announcing a support package for quake-affected farmers. Photo: RNZ / Jane Patterson

He said that could mean some areas would be closed to fishing in the short term until the full impact of this was known.

Mr Guy described the quake as a "real blow" to north Canterbury, which has been dealing with drought conditions for the last three years.

"This is only a first step, and we will be working closely with local communities to do all we can to help people recover and get back on their feet.

The package includes:

  • $4 million for Mayoral Disaster Rural Relief funds (Hurunui, Kaikoura and Marlborough) to help with non-insurable assets such as tracks, on-farm bridges and water infrastructure
  • $500,000 to support Rural Recovery Coordinators in the Hurunui, Kaikoura and Marlborough Districts
  • $500,000 extra funding for Rural Support Trusts
  • $200,000 per month to mobilise and support skilled primary industry students and workers for farm recovery work
  • Rural Assistance Payments (RAPs) from Work and Income NZ - emergency payments for farmers in real hardship

Money will also be given to support Rural Recovery Coordinators, Rural Support Trusts and Rural Assistance Payments, which are emergency payments for farmers in real hardship.

The 0800 779 997 government helpline has been activated to assist people needing financial and other support.

* Rural Recovery Coordinators are experienced local leaders who help co-ordinate recovery measures. They help ensure the right support goes to the right places at the right times.

* Rural Support Trusts organise support and community events, professional meetings, and one-on-one mentoring. They can also help with guidance for Rural Assistance Payments and other relief that may be available in some cases.