12 Nov 2014

Some growers not insured against storm

7:24 am on 12 November 2014

Some fruit growers hit by last week's unprecedented hailstorm in the Tasman district are facing financial ruin after choosing not to take out insurance.

Up to $40 million dollars worth of damage has been estimated, with some growers looking at the total loss of their crops.

Primary Industries Minister Nathan Guy, in blue shirt, met with growers affected.

Primary Industries Minister Nathan Guy, in blue shirt, met with growers affected. Photo: RNZ / Alison Hossain

Riwaka orchard owner Julie Drummond suffered extensive losses and admits they took a gamble that did not pay off.

"No we weren't insured, but we're hoping to get some through Zespri but our apples weren't insured. We've been down that track before and we thought we'd get away with it - but no, we didn't.

"We're hoping we'll get half a crop of hops, we'll get something out of it, but otherwise no. So it's going to be a bit of a financial battle over the next two years. We've been there, done it before, so hopefully we can do it again - that's all we can do."

But another Riwaka fruit grower, Evan Hayward, said even the best prepared growers have been affected.

"There are things you can do about it. Zespri has a very good insurance scheme, which is great for the growers who have been affected," he said.

"Netting is another way growers can mitigate this risk. In the apple properties just around the corner, the flat design hail netting didn't hold up as well as the teepee design - but you don't often get a hailstorm that lasts almost an hour either."

Primary Industries Minister Nathan Guy visited the area yesterday and said the immediate focus was to identify affected growers and support them and their families.

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